FDA authorizes Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine

The one-dose vaccine is being called a game changer.
3:40 | 02/28/21

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Transcript for FDA authorizes Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine
I'm whit Johnson. We begin with that breaking news -- the fda just issuing the emergency use authorization for Johnson & Johnson's vaccine. A third line of defense against the coronavirus and a powerful new weapon in this pandemic. It's being called a game just one dose for protection, tested against concerning variants from South Africa and Brazil and easier to store and deploy in regular refrigerators. Nearly 4 million doses ready to ship from j&j's storage facilities like this one in Kentucky. And tonight we have a breakdown of where those doses will be doing first. Moderna and pfizer already promising to make enough vaccine to vaccinate all Americans by July. With Johnson & Johnson promising another 100 million by June, could that time line speed up? But the race to vaccinate is also a race against those variants. The head of the CDC warning that cases and deaths are beginning to tick up again. So tonight there is cause for vigilance, but thanks to Johnson & Johnson, also cause for hope. ABC's Trevor Ault leads us off here in New York. Reporter: Tonight, the fda giving the green light the to a game-changing third weapon in the covid fight, authorizing Johnson & Johnson's one-shot vaccine. We're at the precipice of having another vaccine in our toolboxes. Reporter: In trials, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has been 100% effective against hospitalization and death. And 85% effective at preventing severe illness. While its overall effectiveness was lower than pfizer and moderna, Johnson & Johnson's was tested against concerning variants, and it still performed well. When this vaccine was tested in South Africa, where the south African variant is common, and when it was tested in Brazil, where the Brazilian variant is common, it worked to keep you out of the hospital and keep you out of the morgue. I think that's really important. Reporter: The j&j vaccine can also be kept in regular refrigerators, allowing for easier shipping and storage. Our elwyn Lopez is in Kentucky. J&j says up to 4 million doses are ready to ship within days. 100 million by the end of June. Many rolling out of this facility outside of Louisville. Reporter: As multiple states push to further re-open, a stark warning from the head of the CDC that we may be seeing the beginning effects of those new variants of the virus. The average daily case total fell 73% over the past six weeks, but that progress has levelled off. Even ticking up 5% in the last five days. Now is not the time to relax restrictions. Reporter: This week's average daily death toll jumping 10%, highlighting the sobering reality that this fight is not yet finished. In Texas, 35-year-old Charles torres struggling to breathe from his covid-ravaged lungs. I love you with all my heart. I love you so much. Saying his final goodbye to his children in this emotional video before, like so many victims of this virus, he passed away alone. He went in and never came out. It's like losing your shadow. No matter where you go, you had him backing you up all the time. Just devastating what that family had to go through. Trevor Ault is joining us from a mass vaccination site here in we know officials meet tomorrow The fda authorizing emergency use for Johnson & Johnson's one-shot vaccine. You're learning details about the company's rollout plan. Reporter: That's right, whit. Once authorization is granted out of the gate, nearly 3 million doses will be sent out, with 800,000 going to pharmacies. The first shots will likely be administered early this week.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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