KANSAS CITY, Kan. – The US wants to take a step forward in the fight against COVID-19 this week. The realization comes as the country weathered 500,000 deaths from the virus on Monday.
On Monday, health experts also warned of a new COVID-19 problem that would mask people for the foreseeable future and affect the country later this year.
A Food and Drug Administration committee is expected to meet later this week to vote on whether to give Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine emergency approval. The FDA does not always follow the committee’s recommendation, but it does with both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. The FDA granted EUAs for both vaccines just one day after the Advisory Committee made its recommendations late last year.
The J&J vaccine has been described as a COVID-19 vaccine that will “save the world”. It doesn’t need to be stored in extremely cold temperatures, and people receiving the vaccine only need one dose. Experts believe the J&J vaccine is also the vaccine that could enable people to get a vaccine during a doctor’s appointment.
Experts warn that while news of the J&J vaccine is advancing, it’s not as much as they first hoped or expected.
“You will only get 10 million cans here in the first shipment. We were hoping for 100 million doses, ”said Dr. Steve Stites, Chief Medical Officer of the University of Kansas Health Systems during a Facebook Live Monday morning. “So this change means our vaccination schedule will be much slower.”
Health experts say they are also concerned about what could come in the next few months. Several variants have already been found in the US and they don’t know exactly how they will affect us. Plus, Americans who suffered from COVID-19 in the early days of the pandemic may soon lose much of their immunity to the virus.
“Remember, we believe your immunogenicity will eventually wear off, and we are not sure how long it will take. Let’s say it’s a year. Then people who originally had COVID-19 last fall have likely lost protection from it and need to be vaccinated, “Stites said.
That means a third of Americans who have survived COVID-19 will need to be vaccinated in addition to millions of people waiting to be vaccinated.
Another message health professionals want to make sure people are hearing is that people who have been vaccinated can continue to get COVID-19. The shot is supposed to keep you from getting seriously ill with the virus. Studies are currently underway to determine the likelihood of you spreading the vaccine after you have been vaccinated.
“I think the problem is that our vaccine rollout is slower than we had hoped. We had talked about April and thought we might be able to open and remove part of the classification, but it seems that this will be late May or June as the introduction of the entire vaccine is delayed, ”Stites said.
All of this means at least that millions of Americans will wait longer than expected for a vaccine, and we will likely all wear masks for another holiday season and another New Year to protect ourselves from the coronavirus.
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