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CDC approves use of Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine

By Rex Robinson | 3/1/2021, 6 a.m. | Updated on 3/1/2021, 6 a.m.
The Centers for Disease Control on Sunday recommended approval for Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine for use in people age ...
The Centers for Disease Control on Sunday approved use of the single-use Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine.

The Centers for Disease Control on Sunday recommended approval for Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine for use in people age 18 and older. This third vaccine is a single use vaccine and is scheduled to start shipping out Monday, officials said.

"Today, I signed CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ (ACIP) recommendation that endorsed the safety and effectiveness of Janssen (Johnson & Johnson)’s COVID-19 vaccine and its use in people age 18 and older," said CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, MPH.

This official CDC recommendation — which follows Saturday’s FDA decision external icon to authorize emergency use of the vaccine — is another milestone toward an end to the pandemic.

"After much hard work and preparation, Johnson & Johnson is ready to join the fight on the ground against COVID-19 and eager to help bring this pandemic to an end—not just in the United States, but throughout the world," Alex Gorsky, Chairman & CEO of Johnson & Johnson said.

"As vaccination scales up, so too does our nation’s overall protection from serious outcomes due to COVID-19. The Janssen vaccine has been shown to be safe and effective in preventing severe COVID-19 illness, hospitalization, and death," Walensky said.

This vaccine is also another important tool in the toolbox to equitably vaccinate as many people as possible, as quickly as possible, Walensky added. As a one-dose vaccine, people do not have to return for a second dose to be protected. In addition, this vaccine does not need to be kept in a freezer and can be stored at refrigerated temperatures — so it is easy to transport and store and allows for expanded availability in most community settings and mobile sites, as supply scales up.

This third safe, effective COVID-19 vaccine comes at a potentially pivotal time. CDC’s latest data suggest that recent declines in COVID-19 cases may be stalling and potentially leveling off at still very high numbers. "That is why it is so critical that we remain vigilant and consistently take all of the mitigation steps we know work to stop the spread of COVID-19 while we work our way toward mass vaccination," Walensky said.

"I know that many Americans look forward to rolling up their sleeves with confidence as soon as a COVID-19 vaccine is available to them. Having different types of vaccines available for use, especially ones with different dosing recommendations and storage and handling requirements, can offer more options and flexibility for the public, jurisdictions and vaccine providers. Getting vaccinated with the first vaccine available to you will help protect all of us from COVID-19."