The Johnson and Johnson Vaccine: A Healthy Dose of Optimism

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Bella White ‘23, Assistant Arts and Entertainment Editor

On February 27th, 2021, the Food and Drug Administration issued Emergency Use Authorization to the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, more commonly referred to as Johnson and Johnson, to begin distribution of their one shot COVID-19 vaccine to adults 18 years of age and older. According to the United States Food and Drug Administration, “The Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine is manufactured using a specific type of virus called adenovirus type 26 (Ad26). The vaccine uses Ad26 to deliver a piece of the DNA, or genetic material, that is used to make the distinctive “spike” protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. While adenoviruses are a group of viruses that are relatively common, Ad26, which can cause cold symptoms and pink eye, has been modified for the vaccine so that it cannot replicate in the human body to cause illness. After a person receives this vaccine, the body can temporarily make the spike protein, which does not cause disease, but triggers the immune system to learn to react defensively, producing an immune response against SARS-CoV-2.” The U.S. FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee approved for the Emergency Use Authorization. The shot was approved based on rigorous scientific studies proving the vaccine to be 85 percent effective in preventing COVID-19 related hospitalizations and deaths 28 days after vaccination. Johnson and Johnson has also recently submitted a request to the European Conditional Marketing Authorisation Application to the European Medicines Agency as well as its filed for an Emergency Use Listing with the World Health Organization for its COVID-19 vaccine candidate. 

On March 3, 2020, Governor Wolf announced that all Pennsylvania preschool through high school teachers and staff and child childcare workers will be able to receive the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. The vaccination of teachers is separate from Pennsylvania’s current phase in their vaccine rollout.  The vaccine is also voluntary for teachers, with elementary and special education teachers prioritized during the first round of vaccinations. Governor Wolf announced this initiative in an effort to speed students return to full in person learning. He also predicted that, “We should have enough vaccines to cover the education community private and public by the end of March” (Martin et al.). In order to reach this goal, the 94,600 doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine that the state has received will be devoted to teachers, teaching staff, administration, bus drivers and other school workers. The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency and the departments of Education and Health are partnering with the 28 Intermediate Units to establish vaccine sites. The Pennsylvania National Guard and AMI Expeditionary Healthcare will administer the vaccine. Most locations were set to start vaccinating between March 10 and 13.

Sources

“FDA Issues Emergency Use Authorization for Third COVID-19 Vaccine.” U.S. Food and Drug 

Administration, FDA, 27 Feb. 2021, www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-issues-emergency-use-authorization-third-covid-19-vaccine.

“Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine Authorized by U.S. FDA For Emergency Use – First 

Single-Shot Vaccine in Fight Against Global Pandemic.” Johnson and Johnson, 27 Feb. 2021, www.jnj.com/johnson-johnson-covid-19-vaccine-authorized-by-u-s-fda-for-emergency-usefirst-single-shot-vaccine-in-fight-against-global-pandemic.  

Martin, Aaron, et al. “Plan in Place to Get Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine to Teachers in 

Pennsylvania.” WPXI, WPXI, 8 Mar. 2021, www.wpxi.com/news/top-stories/plan-place-get-johnson-johnson-covid-19-vaccine-teachers-pennsylvania/KZGGSTTV5JEEVPVWTEAAT2F5J4/