American pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson (J&J) has filed for emergency authorization of its one-dose COVID-19 vaccine.
The vaccine is 66 percent effective against moderate to severe cases of the deadly global pandemic, but it only requires a single dose and offers strong protection against hospitalization and death from the virus, according to the company.
The J&J vaccine would add a vital third option from the US, along with Pfizer and Moderna shots, as the world struggles to distribute vaccines against the coronavirus, which has infected nearly 105 million people globally and upended the economy.
The vaccine comes with an added advantage over Pfizer and Moderna because only one shot is required for immunization, rather than two spaced out over the course of a few weeks.
However, the J&J version has proved less effective against a more aggressive strain of the virus found in South Africa, according to reports. Nonetheless, the J&J vaccine provides a third line of defense.
“Upon authorization of our investigational COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use, we are ready to begin shipping,” Paul Stoffels, the company’s chief scientific officer, said in a statement. “We are working with great urgency to make our investigational vaccine available to the public as quickly as possible.” The company had said earlier that they plan a March rollout for vaccine distribution.