FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: APHA Media Relations
Statement from APHA Executive Director Georges C. Benjamin, MD
Another victory in the fight against the deadly pandemic: today’s U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorization of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use. I also applaud the Biden administration for placing its expedited delivery as a priority, with 3 to 4 million doses to be delivered as soon as early next week.
The vaccine works by employing a viral vector, which direct the variant of a harmless adenovirus to deliver instructions to cells that are designed to create SARS-C0v-2 spike proteins that trigger an immune response. And like its Moderna and Pfizer predecessors, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has undergone rigorous testing and clinical trials based on years’ worth of research. It is effective in preventing severe illness and deaths. It also features two important attributes that will make vaccinations easier to accomplish:
- it requires just one dose; and
- the vaccine is more easily transportable, with its ability to be stored without enhanced refrigeration for a total of up to three months. This scores a tremendous win for vulnerable communities hardest hit by the pandemic, specifically for individuals affected by mobility issues and disparities in access to public transportation.
Very soon, shots could very well come to wherever the arms may be.
However, we must still acknowledge that access barriers persist, as well as some vaccine hesitancy. The public health community will continue to call on trusted community leaders to convey factual, science-based information while easing concerns and discrediting falsehoods.
While vaccine distribution is accelerating, and FDA approval of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine helps bolster the public’s trust in science and national leadership, we are still very much at a beginner’s pace and have a lot more to accomplish before we can place this pandemic behind us. As the newly approved vaccine joins our nation’s toolkit to lift us out of this health crisis, I caution all Americans to not let their guard down. Please remain diligent in following public health guidance. Wear masks, keep your distance and wash your hands often to keep yourself, your loved ones and your community safe.
The American Public Health Association champions the health of all people and all communities. We are the only organization that combines a nearly 150-year perspective, a broad-based member community and the ability to influence federal policy to improve the public’s health. Learn more at www.apha.org.