Johnson & Johnson announced some promising news this week, claiming that their single-shot Covid-19 vaccine is proving to be 66% effective at preventing symptomatic disease and 85% effective against preventing severe illness.
Dr. Mathai Mammen is the global head of Janssen Research & Development who spoke with the media about how “elated and joyful” the room was when the team of scientists concluded those percentages.
“We’re a single shot and now we’ve produced data that says our vaccine is highly effective. 85% against severe Covid and 100% effective against hospitalization or death.”
Mammen continued to claim that “we’ve had the objective of producing a vaccine for the world, that is easily used, is easily distributed and it works against preventing the form of COVID-19 that people care about, meaning an illness that can make you severely sick at home and lead to hospitalization or death. The vaccine is safe, volunteers experienced mild reactions after the shot, with less than 10% experiencing fever.”
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has said that it will consider any vaccine that’s more than 50% effective, and since the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is now surpassing that threshold, the Administration will likely review the data and place an emergency use authorization on it to begin distribution before the end of February.
The US is currently projected to receive up to 300 million vaccines from both Pfizer and Moderna, which would almost vaccinate the entire population. With the release of another vaccine option, the country will be more than set for achieving herd immunity by the end of the Summer as the Biden Administration is already predicting.
“With its single-shot administration and more convenient transportation and storage requirements, this vaccine really is a workhorse vaccine. We’re delighted to see that this vaccine has good efficacy against mild disease [and] outstanding efficacy against severe disease … [in] all geographic regions studied,” said Dr. Dan Barouch of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, who collaborated with Johnson & Johnson in the development of the vaccine.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine trial was composed of more than 44,000 volunteers from a variety of countries, just like the other vaccine trials. This way the company could see if the vaccine impacted certain demographics differently than others, and like Pfizer and Moderna they luckily found that it didn’t, and was equally as effective for everyone.
“So, this is probably the single most exciting result in our entire clinical study that we have 85% protection against severe COVID, irrespective of where in the world you’re talking about and what kind of variants you’re talking about,” Mammen said.
Johnson & Johnson is currently planning studies in children and pregnant women to really ensure the vaccine is safe for those more vulnerable groups. If the FDA provides emergency use authorization to the company, they claim that they could distribute 100 million doses to the US by June.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at email@example.com.