FDA panels reviews J&J’s COVID-19 vaccine

A crucial day for Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine as a panel of expert advisers meets Friday to review its safety and effectiveness. That panel of doctors, infectious disease experts and medical researchers is expected to vote to in favor of the vaccine’s use at the end of the meeting.

The Food and Drug Administration is then likely to authorize it for emergency use within a day or so - with three to four million doses expected to be rolled out next week. That would make J&J’s vaccine the third one available in the U.S. after those made by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna, and it would be the only one that requires just a single injection.

Unlike the other two, J&J’s vaccine can be stored in normal refrigerator temperatures instead of ultra-cold storage. That makes distribution a lot easier. A trial found that J&J’s vaccine was 66% effective at preventing moderate-to-severe cases of COVID-19. And it was 100% effective at preventing hospitalizations 28 days after vaccination.

Ahead of the decision, J&J shares fell modestly in early trading Friday.