SALEM, Ore. — A scientific panel appointed by the Governors of Oregon, Washington, California, and Nevada has approved the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for distribution in those states, agreeing with the FDA's assessment of its efficacy and safety for emergency use approval.
California first heralded the review panel in October, and was quickly joined by the other states. The Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup, as it came to be called, approved the Pfizer vaccine in December and cleared the Moderna vaccine soon after.
According to a statement from Governor Kate Brown's office, the workgroup completed its review of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine on Tuesday night, concluding that it is "safe and effective for use" in the western states and providing confirmation to the governors on Wednesday morning.
"After thorough scientific review by doctors and health experts, we now have three safe and effective vaccines available for Oregonians," Governor Brown said. "And, because the Johnson & Johnson vaccine can be stored in standard refrigerators and vaccinate individuals in a single dose, it gives us the ability to vaccinate even more people. We will work to distribute vaccines as quickly and equitably as possible as we move forward to vaccinate seniors, people with underlying health conditions, frontline workers, and all Oregonians."
The workgroup consists of hand-picked scientists with backgrounds in immunization and public health, and was intended to independently check the FDA's work before new vaccines could be distributed in the member states.
"With the authorization of the single-shot Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, we now have three remarkable vaccines that offer 100 percent protection from death and hospitalizations," said California Governor Gavin Newsom. "We have administered 9.3 million vaccines in California thus far, and we’re building a system that will allow us to vaccinate people as quickly as supply becomes available. There is truly light at the end of the tunnel."
Shipments of the new vaccine are expected to reach Oregon sometime this week.