President Joe Biden, in a statement, called the authorization “exciting news for all Americans,” but cautioned that the majority of the country continues to follow basic public health measures, such as masking and keeping distance, especially as the spread new, more contagious virus variants.
“There is light at the end of the tunnel, but we cannot let our guard down now or assume that victory is inevitable,” Biden said. “We must continue to be vigilant, act fast and aggressively, and take care of each other – this is how we are going to achieve that light together.
The vaccine is 66 percent effective against widespread coronavirus infection, but it is particularly good at curbing serious illness, hospitalization and death, which J&J executives say is most important to consumers.
An expert panel advising the FDA agreed, voting unanimously Friday night to recommend the vaccine for people 18 and older.
“We need vaccines that are effective and well tolerated. Most importantly, the ones that are easy to implement, ”Gregory Poland, director of Mayo Clinic’s vaccine research group, said during a J&J presentation to the Advisory Committee on Vaccines and Related Biologics on Friday.
State and local health officials have also expressed optimism about the incoming vaccine.