By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
After a rigorous, open, and objective scientific review process, President Joe Biden proclaimed from the White House that the Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization for a third safe and effective vaccine to help defeat the COVID-19 pandemic.
The government authorized using the new Janssen COVID-19 vaccine from Johnson & Johnson on Friday, Feb. 26.
“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,” he added.
The latest vaccine accompanies those already available from Pfizer and Moderna. While the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two shots, just one dose is needed for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
The FDA authorized use for those 18 and older and declared that the vaccine does not require freezing.
Approximately 4 million doses are earmarked for distribution this week, with another 16 million by the end of the month and 80 million by July 1.
Reportedly, about 50 million Americans have already been vaccinated, and President Biden said efforts have increased to ensure that vaccines are available to everyone.
“This – is another milestone toward an end to the pandemic,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky stated in a news release.
President Biden thanked “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, and we are moving in the right direction.”
The President noted that he looks forward to updating the American people on progress this 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,” the President announced.
More than 28.6 million Americans have contracted the novel coronavirus, and approximately 513,000 have died.
“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.”
The President concluded:
“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.”