WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. now has a third vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The Food and Drug Administration on Saturday cleared a Johnson & Johnson shot that works with just one dose instead of two.
Health experts have anxiously awaited a one-and-done option to help speed vaccinations.
The virus has already killed more than 510,000 people in the U.S. and is mutating in increasingly worrisome ways.
The FDA said J&J’s vaccine offers strong protection against what matters most: serious illness, hospitalizations and death. One dose was 85% protective against the most severe COVID-19 illness, in a massive study that spanned three continents.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer released a statement after the vaccine was cleared for emergency use, saying in part that it will help "get shots in arms quicker."
Read the governor's full statement:
“This scientific breakthrough is terrific news for our families, frontline workers, and small businesses who are eager to get vaccinated and continue our steady return to normalcy. We now have a total of three safe, effective vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson.
"As supply continues increasing because of the efforts of the Biden administration, I am confident that we can reach our goal of vaccinating 70% of Michiganders 16 and up at a rate of 50,000 shots per day, a metric we have been meeting in recent weeks. Our vaccine rollout will continue to focus on our most vulnerable, promote equity, and prioritize our essential workers and older at-risk Michiganders. The addition of this one-and-done vaccine will help us get shots in arms quicker.
"I also want to call on the Michigan Legislature to pass the MI COVID Recovery Plan so we can use the over $5 billion allocated to us in a bipartisan bill to speed up our vaccination efforts and expand testing, tracing, and lab capacity. Every day, week, and month that goes by, we get closer to putting this virus behind us, but I want to remind everyone that we must not let our guard down. It will take time to widely distribute the three vaccines, and we must all continue to do our part by wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, and washing our hands frequently.”
President Biden also released a statement, saying while this is welcome news, we are not out of the woods yet, advising all Americans to continue wearing masks and practice social distancing.
Read the president's full statement:
"Today, after a rigorous, open, and objective scientific review process, the Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization for a third safe and effective vaccine to help us defeat the COVID-19 pandemic — the Janssen COVID-19 (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine. This is exciting news for all Americans, and an encouraging development in our efforts to bring an end to the crisis.
"We know that the more people get vaccinated, the faster we will overcome the virus, get back to our friends and loved ones, and get our economy back on track. Thanks to the brilliance of our scientists, the resilience of our people, and the eagerness of Americans in every community to protect themselves and their loved ones by getting vaccinated, we are moving in the right direction. I look forward to speaking more about today’s news and updating the American people on our progress this coming week.
"But I want to be clear: this fight is far from over. Though we celebrate today’s news, I urge all Americans — keep washing your hands, stay socially distanced, and keep wearing masks. As I have said many times, things are still likely to get worse again as new variants spread, and the current improvement could reverse. My Administration will not make the mistake of taking this threat lightly, or just assuming the best: that’s why we need the American Rescue Plan to keep this fight going in the months ahead.
"There is light at the end of the tunnel, but we cannot let our guard down now or assume that victory is inevitable. We must continue to remain vigilant, act fast and aggressively, and look out for one another — that is how we are going to reach that light together."