New vaccines provide more hope in fight against COVID-19


Link Gazey

More than 87 million Amercians have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Art by Link Gazey.

Miles Gelatt, News Editor

 After approval by an independent panel of scientists, on  Feb. 27, the FDA granted emergency authorization for Johnson and Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine, making it the third vaccine to be approved by the FDA in the fight against COVID-19. Vaccines by Moderna and Pfizer were also approved in the previous weeks. Unlike the other vaccines, which require two shots, Johnson and Johnson’s vaccine is single-shot. However, it does still need to be stored at sub-zero temperatures. 

The new vaccine has been shown to be 66.3% effective at preventing moderate to severe COVID-19 complications 28 days after vaccination, and highly effective at preventing hospitalizations and deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

However, the distribution of the vaccines has been disrupted by windstorms across the country in recent weeks, including more than 6 million vaccines that have been backed up, according to the CDC.

 On Feb. 11, President Joe Biden announced that the U.S. federal government had secured deals to purchase 600 million vaccine doses from Pfizer and Moderna to be delivered by the summer. The federal government also announced that it will invoke the Defense Production Act which will open up emergency federal government funding that will help to fix other bottlenecks in the vaccine distribution program, such as limited supplies of syringes or protective gear. Biden also has remained confident in his plan to have 100 million Americans vaccinated against COVID-19 by the end of his 100 days in office — a period that stretches through April 30. Since vaccine distribution began in the U.S. on Dec. 14, more than 87 million doses have been administered, reaching 17.3% of the total U.S. population, according to federal data collected by the CDC. The U.S. is currently administering over 2.1 million COVID-19 shots a day. 

The President also praised the massive $1.9 trillion stimulus bill that was passed by the U.S Senate on March 6. The bill provides funding for more COVID-19 vaccine research and assistance in the opening of schools. The bill also contains $1,400 checks for individuals making less than $75,000 annually, and phased-out amounts for people with higher incomes. Married couples who file taxes jointly can receive two $1,400 checks if their combined income is below $150,000.

“It’s a remarkable, historic, transformative piece of legislation, which goes a very long way to crushing the virus and solving our economic crisis,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said during a press conference with senior Democrats on March 9.

“When we took office 45 days ago, I promised the American people that help was on the way,” Biden said. “Today, I can say we’ve taken one more giant step forward in delivering on that promise.”