Washington, March 1 : The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine for Americans who are 18 years of age and older, a final clearance for the jab after it was authorised by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for emergency use.
On Sunday, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted to recommend the vaccine to be administered to people 18 and older, reports Xinhua news agency.
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky signed the recommendation that endorsed the safety and effectiveness of Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine and its use across the country.
“This official CDC recommendation — which follows Saturday’s FDA decision to authorise emergency use of the vaccine — is another milestone toward an end to the pandemic,” Walensky said in a statement.
This third safe, effective Covid-19 vaccine comes at a potentially “pivotal time”, she said.
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, Walensky said.
The CDC recommendation came a day after the FDA’s authoriseation.
“The authorisation of this vaccine expands the availability of vaccines, the best medical prevention method for Covid-19, to help us in the fight against this pandemic, which has claimed over half a million lives in the US,” said Janet Woodcock, acting FDA commissioner.
It is the third Covid-19 vaccine that has received the FDA’s emergency use authorisation in the country, following the first one developed by American drugmaker Pfizer in partnership with German company BioNTech, and the second one developed by American drugmaker Moderna.
Some 4 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine would be expected to start shipping as early as Monday, with some 800,000 of that expected to go directly to pharmacies, according to the company.
Over 96 million vaccine doses have been distributed across the US as of Sunday, and more than 75 million doses have been administered, according to CDC data.
The US is the worst-hit country with the world’s highest number of cases and deaths at 28,605,527 and 513,091, respectively.