Experts say vaccine progress will help bring normalcy

(CNN) – The US is getting a third tool to battle against COVID-19.

On Sunday afternoon, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention voted to recommend the usage of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine for people who are at least 18 years old.

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky signed the recommendation shortly afterward and in a statement said this is “another milestone toward an end to the pandemic.”

The third coronavirus vaccine could become available in the US within the next few days.

Dr. Greg Poland is a professor of medicine and infectious diseases at the Mayo Clinic. He said, “The vaccine is highly effective in preventing severe COVID-19.”

This one from Johnson & Johnson only requires a single dose.

Professor of Medicine at George Washington University Medical Center Dr. Jonathan Reiner said, “This is going to increase immediately, somewhere between 70-to-80 percent our ability to deliver new shots to people every week. It’s a big, big deal.”

Health experts say the J&J vaccine will help get the nation toward a return to normalcy.

Professor of Emergency Medicine at Oregon Health & Science University Dr. Esther Choo said, “For the most severe and critical disease, hospitalizations and deaths the performance was just as good. This is an outstanding vaccine.”

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows just over 7.5% of the US population is fully vaccinated, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Dr. Fauci said, “If i were not vaccinated now and I had a choice of getting a J&J vaccine now or waiting for another vaccine, I would take whatever vaccine that would be available to me.”

But despite this progress, health officials stress people still need to be cautious.

Executive Associate Dean of Emory University School of Medicine Dr. Carlos Del Rio said, “We’re really right now in a race between variants and vaccines, and we have to do whatever we can to shut down this virus.”

Johnson & Johnson says it has about four million vaccine doses available to ship right now but says it expects to have roughly 20 million ready before April.

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