On Sunday, an advisory committee of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention voted unanimously to recommend Johnson & Johnson a COVID-19 injection for widespread use, and US officials said the initial shipments would begin on Sunday.
After a final clearance of the vaccine was submitted the day after it was licensed by US regulators, the Immunization Practices Advisory Committee (Acip) voted 0-12 to recommend the vaccine from J&J as appropriate to Americans 18 years of age or older.
There was one abstention due to a previous conflict of interest.
“We believe that today’s recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to start using our vaccine as part of the US national immunization program will add an important tool in the fight against Covid-19,” Paul Stoffels, chief scientific officer at J&J, said in a statement. .
“We are taking these doses out of the door as soon as they are available to ensure vaccines get to the weapon as quickly as possible,” a senior US official told reporters late Sunday, adding that initial deliveries were expected by Tuesday.
State and local public health authorities will use Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and CDC guidelines as they administer the first 3.9 million doses, which will be shipped through distribution partner McKesson Corp.
Senior administration officials acknowledged that vaccination rates among minorities “were not where we want them to be in the end,” but measures have been taken to increase these numbers.
They said federal officials closely monitor the distribution by states to make sure it is fair.
Officials urged everyone in the United States to get an injection as soon as it was their turn, and said black and brown Americans should understand that safeguards were put in place after previous cases of discrimination in the medical field.
“Time is definitely of the essence. One official said vaccination saves lives.”
ACIP has played a major role in guiding countries on how to allocate rare doses, although the states themselves have the final say in how to allocate shots.
There are still no studies comparing the J&J vaccine directly to other Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna Inc approved vaccines, but all vaccines have been highly effective at Reducing hospitalizations and deaths.
Both Pfizer and Moderna, based on the new messenger RNA technology, showed higher rates of efficacy in trials that used two doses versus the J&J single-shot vaccine.
However, direct comparison is difficult because the experiments had different objectives and J&J experiments were conducted during the spread of new, more infectious types of virus.
Oliver also said that there is not enough data to know whether the safety or efficacy of vaccines could be compromised by pre-existing conditions that threaten a person’s immune systems.
CDC director Rochelle Walinski agreed with the committee’s recommendations.
Oliver and senior US officials have said that deploying the J&J vaccine could help ensure equitable distribution of shots to disadvantaged communities.
The J&J injection will be the only vaccine available from a single dose of Covid in the United States. It is also easier to ship and store, as it can be kept in the refrigerator rather than in the freezer.
J&J expects to ship more than 20 million doses by the end of March and 100 million by the middle of the year, enough to vaccinate nearly a third of Americans.