It will help speed up inoculation

Johnson & Johnson’s (J&J) single-dose vaccine protects against COVID-19, according to an analysis by U.S. regulators on Wednesday that sets the stage for a final decision on a new and easier-to-use shot to help tame the pandemic.

The Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) scientists confirmed that overall the vaccine is about 66% effective at preventing moderate to severe COVID-19. The agency also said J&J’s shot — one that could help speed vaccinations by requiring just one dose instead of two — is safe to use.

That’s just one step in the FDA’s evaluation of a third vaccine option for the U.S. On Friday, the agency’s independent advisers will debate if the evidence is strong enough to recommend the long-anticipated shot. The FDA is expected to make a final decision within days.

The vaccination drive has been slower than hoped, hampered by logistical issues and weather delays even as the country mourns over 500,000 virus-related deaths. So far, about 44.5 million Americans have received at least one dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, and nearly 20 million have received the second.

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