A new coronavirus vaccine may soon be approved. But this one, from Johnson & Johnson, is different from the other two currently authorized in the United States.
"This is a single-shot vaccine in which you start to see efficacy anywhere from 7 to 10 days following the first and only shot," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease.
Health experts say getting people vaccinated as quickly and efficiently as possible is one of the best defenses against the virus. A single dose of this vaccine means more people could gain immunity more quickly, as none would have to be set aside for a second shot.
"It is very, very good with regard to cold chain requirements, namely requiring only a refrigerator," said Dr. Fauci. "It is inexpensive and the company is capable of making doses in the numbers of billions."
Johnson & Johnson says their vaccine was 72 percent effective against moderate and severe disease in the United States. The vaccines already on the market are about 95 percent effective overall against symptomatic COVID-19, with perhaps even higher efficacy against severe cases.
Some experts urge Americans not to count Johnson & Johnson out.
"If we had an abundance of mRNA vaccines where if everybody could get those vaccines now, this probably wouldn't be a discussion, but we don't," said Dr. Paul Offit, FDA vaccine advisory group member.
The United States has ordered 100 million doses and Johnson & Johnson says it can meet that commitment by June. The company will request what is known as an emergency use authorization from the FDA in early February.