Johnson & Johnson requests U.S. authorization for its one-dose COVID vaccine
A possible third COVID vaccine could be on the way in the U.S. It is sorely needed to ramp up vaccinations. Nearly 34 million Americans have had at least one COVID shot, but that means more than 8 in 10 have not.
Late Thursday, Johnson & Johnson is filing with the FDA for emergency use authorization approval for its one-dose vaccine.
"Today's submission for Emergency Use Authorization of our investigational single-shot COVID-19 vaccine is a pivotal step toward reducing the burden of disease for people globally and putting an end to the pandemic," Paul Stoffels, the company's chief scientific officer, said in a statement. "... we are working with great urgency to make our investigational vaccine available to the public as quickly as possible."
This comes as COVID restrictions ease and hospitalizations and new COVID cases decline. However, the concern grows among several top infectious disease doctors.
"I am very worried that we are going to relax too much, this is not the moment to let our guard down," Dr. Ashish Jha said.
Dr. Michael Osterholm said, "Within six to 12 weeks, we could be seeing the very worst to the pandemic to date."
Dr. Celine Gounder, an epidemiologist at New York University who advised the Biden transition team, said she's concerned about pandemic fatigue and that it's crucial to vaccinate as many as possible.
"My biggest concern right now is that people are fatigued, they're frustrated, they just want life to go back to normal," Gounder said. "These variants will continue to spread, continue to mutate and at the end of the day, we could end up having vaccines that no longer work."
Some reports say the variants could become dominant by March.
"The U.K. variant appears to be more transmissible, more contagious," ground told CBS News. "It may be more virulent, which means that the person infected with that strain is more likely to have severe disease and die."
In Alabama, A.J. Jackson was among the first Americans to be diagnosed with the strain that originated in the U.K. He died this week at the age of 35. His wife Ashley wrote, "You are now our guardian angel."
With variants on the rise, health officials are concerned about gatherings this weekend for the big game.
"As much fun as it is to get together at a big Super Bowl party ... At least this time around, just lay low and cool it," Dr. Anthony Fauci said.
There's promising news of a new antibody test being developed by scientists at the University of Denver. It could determine whether someone testing positive for COVID will have mild or more severe symptoms.
An ongoing debate rages about reopening schools where some are still operating virtually after almost a year.
Megan Caluza teaches special education in San Francisco public schools, but wants proper protocols implemented before returning to the classroom. That includes vaccinations for students and staff and increased ventilation.
"We truly believe by pushing to ensure that all the appropriate safety measures are in place, that we're doing what's right for our children and their families," Caluza said.
Meanwhile in Chicago, a tense standoff persists between the city and the teachers union refusing to return. Mayor Lori Lightfoot said they've spent more than $100 million on ventilation, masks and safety protocols.
"Black and Brown kids who look like me coming from circumstances like the one that I grew up in who are struggling and are failing, we are failing those children by not giving them the option to return to school," she said.
Lightfoot said Thursday night that the time has run out for the nation's third largest school district, and is telling the union they must have a deal by midnight. Meanwhile, the union said it's working in the 11th hour to reach an agreement.
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