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FDA Approves Third COVID-19 Vaccine From Johnson & Johnson

Image Source: (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
Image Source: (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Over the weekend, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a third vaccine made by Johnson and Johnson that only requires one shot.

Shipments started going out immediately nationwide with officials hoping to get shots in arms within 24 to 48 hours.  Officials say four million doses will go out this week. 

The so-called one-and-done shot is expected to speed up vaccinations exponentially.

"It's also important to remember when we say 100 million doses by June, that means 100 million vaccinations - patients that will have been treated," said Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky.

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Not only does the latest vaccine require just one shot, but it can also be refrigerated at normal temperatures making it easier to store than the other coronavirus vaccines that must be kept below freezing.

The FDA praises this latest vaccine for offering 85 percent protection against what matters most: serious illness, hospitalizations, and death.  

While It falls short of the 95 percent prevention offered by the other vaccines, experts say that's no cause for concern.

"We have three highly efficacious vaccines that are safe and efficacious," said White House Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anthony Fauci.  

"That's the bottom line. I can tell you, I'm vaccinated now. But if I were not vaccinated and I was going to go into a clinic and they said, 'Hey, we have J&J now, or you can wait three weeks or so to get another one,' I would take the one that is available to me now, because the quicker you get vaccinated, the more quickly you will be protected, and you will add on to the overall protection in your county, in your country."

READ: What You Need to Know About the Leading Coronavirus Vaccines

So far, the latest CDC stats show more than 24 million people fully vaccinated with nearly 49 million waiting on their second shot, indicating there's still a long way to go.

"We're not able to vaccinate 80 percent of the country quite yet," said Dr. Imran Ali of Mt. Sinai Medical Center.  "And, so by April, we'll still be a ways off."

After a year and more than 500 thousand COVID deaths, pandemic weary Americans are anxious to get back to normal.

Some are heading to warm places like Miami for spring break.

"We're going somewhere now," said tourist Carly Mitchell.

Johnson and Johnson says it'll soon test its single-shot dose on children, even newborns, and pregnant women.

Meanwhile, on the financial relief front, President Biden hopes to meet with Senate Democrats Tuesday, now that his $1.9 trillion dollar package has passed the House.  

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