Photo taken on Dec. 11, 2020 shows the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in Silver Spring, Maryland, the United States. (Photo by Ting Shen/Xinhua)
The positive vote paves the way for an official decision the FDA will make over the coming weekend.
WASHINGTON, Feb. 26 (Xinhua) -- A panel of advisers to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommended on Friday to authorize Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use.
The panel, consisting of infectious disease experts, doctors and scientists, believed the benefits of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine outweigh the risks for those 18 and older.
The positive vote, which came after hours of scientific discussion, paves the way for an official decision the FDA will make over the coming weekend.
If the Johnson & Johnson vaccine gets FDA approval, it will be the third vaccine to be available in the United States, after the other two made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.
Unlike the two-shot dosing for the vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine only requires one shot. Meanwhile, it does not require ultra-cold storage.
Johnson & Johnson applied to the FDA for emergency use authorization in early February, submitting clinical trial data involving 44,000 participants in eight countries.
The data showed that the vaccine was 72 percent effective in preventing cases of moderate to severe COVID-19 in the United States.
In South Africa, where a variant capable of evading some parts of immunity became dominant since late last year, the vaccine was 64 percent effective against moderate to severe illness.
The FDA released an analysis on Wednesday, saying the Johnson & Johnson vaccine provides strong protection against severe disease and death from COVID-19, and may reduce the spread of the virus by vaccinated people.
Another panel, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is scheduled to meet on Sunday to discuss whether people should get the vaccine and related arrangements.
U.S. President Joe Biden said Thursday if the FDA authorizes the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for emergency use, the administration plans to roll out as quickly as the company can make the vaccine.
If approved by the FDA, some 4 million doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine would be expected to start shipping as early as Monday, according to the company. ■