The acting chief of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said in a statement that the agency would act quickly to follow the recommendation, which would make the Johnson & Johnson vaccine the third vaccine authorized in the United States.
Vaccination is picking up speed, but new supplies are urgently needed to stay ahead of a mutating virus that has killed more than 500,000 Americans.
After day-long discussions, FDA panelists unanimously said the vaccine’s benefits outweighed the risks to adults.
Once the FDA makes a final decision, shipments of a few million doses could begin as early as Monday.
“There is an urgent need to do this,” said Dr. Jay Portnoy of Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri.
“We are in a race, stuck between mutating the virus – and releasing new variants that can cause new diseases – and stopping it.”
More than 47 million people in the United States, or 14% of the population, have received at least one injection of the two-dose vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna, which the FDA cleared in December.
But the pace of vaccinations has been strained by limited supplies and delays due to winter storms.
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