Vaccines

'Normality' Draws Closer as FDA Panel Recommends Approval of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine

Adding a third vaccine could get America back to something resembling normal by this spring.

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After a review of clinical trial data, the Food and Drug Administration's Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee recommends that the agency issue an Emergency Use Authorization for drugmaker Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine. That authorization would add a third COVID-19 vaccine to the already approved versions currently distributed by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna. If approved, the company says that it can deliver 20 million U.S. doses of its single-shot COVID-19 vaccine by the end of March.

The J&J vaccine uses a disabled cold virus that can enter human cells, but cannot reproduce, to deliver the gene for the coronavirus spike protein. This provokes the immune system to produce antibodies and other cells to fend off infection by the COVID-19 virus. The two earlier approved vaccines deliver messenger RNA (mRNA) for the spike protein encapsulated in tiny fat particles to get muscle cells to churn out viral proteins that then prime the immune system to fight the virus.

The FDA advisory committee reports that the J&J vaccine is 66 percent effective at preventing mild/moderate COVID-19 symptoms and 85 percent effective at preventing severe symptoms. Importantly, the vaccine was 100 percent effective at preventing hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 infections.

The J&J vaccine works after only one dose and does not need special refrigeration or other special handling. This contrasts with the FDA's current two-dose prescription for both the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines injected several weeks apart and their finicky ultra-cold refrigeration requirements.

Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna have pledged to deliver before the end of March an additional 140 million doses of their vaccines over the 80 million they have already distributed. Together, and adhering to the two-dose regimen, that's enough to fully vaccinate 110 million Americans. Adding the 20 million single-shot doses of J&J's vaccine bumps that up to 130 million potentially vaccinated.

Let's assume that practice makes perfect and that the heretofore slow and bumpy rollout of the vaccination campaign is greatly sped up such that inoculations occur almost as fast as doses can be delivered. What would this extravagant thought experiment imply about how soon the goal of herd immunity might be reached?

In data scientist Youyang Gu's "path to herd immunity normality" calculations, he projects that it won't be until June 4, 2021, that the low 60 percent herd immunity threshold of 195 million Americans is reached. Actually, Gu now believes that the goal of herd immunity is a chimera and argues that the likely and reasonable objective is to significantly reduce COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations so that life can return to normal. That will occur as COVID-19 becomes an endemic background infection with an annual death rate similar to that of seasonal influenza. (On the other hand, researchers are hard at work on universal coronavirus and influenza vaccines that could greatly reduce future misery and deaths from these viruses.)

So by June 4, Gu projects that 63 million Americans would be immune due to prior infections, 37 million would be immune due to both prior infections and vaccination, and 95 million immune solely as a result of vaccination. Overall, Gu projects that 135 million Americans would have been vaccinated by June 4.

So what happens if it happily turns out that something close to 130 million Americans are vaccinated by the beginning of April, instead of by June? Gu currently projects that 96 million Americans will have become immune due to COVID-19 infections by that date. Combining 130 million vaccinated people with 96 million people immune via infection very roughly yields 226 million Americans immune to the virus by April 1. Of course, the vaccination campaign will not go all that smoothly and there is double counting of people who have been both infected and vaccinated, but these crude calculations suggest that herd immunity, or at least, post-pandemic normality is close at hand.

NEXT: Despite Its Own Warning That 'Congress Itself Is the Target,' the Capitol Police Did Not Expect Anything Like Last Month's Riot

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  1. The vaccine was effective in reducing the risk of COVID-19 and preventing polymerase-chain-reaction-test (PCR-test) confirmed COVID-19 at least 14 days after vaccination, the FDA said in its briefing documents.
    https://worldabcnews.com/single-dose-of-johnson-johnson-vaccine-is-66-effective-say-u-s-regulators/

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  2. …the likely and reasonable objective is to significantly reduce COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations so that life can return to normal.

    We’ve heard this tune before.

    1. Our boys will be back from the war by Christmas.

    2. If they dismantled the security theater at airports, how many people would fly?
      We are stuck with this shit.

      1. More people than fly now. The security theater is for people who don’t fly, to assure them they won’t be targeted by falling airliners. The security theater discourages people from flying.

    3. “Two weeks to flatten the curve.”

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    4. I expect that when things get much better by late spring, Fauci will move the goalposts to zero infections for 90 consecutive days. He has already signaled this move with his often expressed concern about mutations.

  3. ‘Normality’ Draws Closer as FDA Panel Recommends Approval of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine
    Adding a third vaccine could get America back to something resembling normal by this spring.

    According to some of the world’s top epidemiologists, natural herd immunity should get us close to something resembling normal by the spring.

  4. Got some bad news for you – “normality” is already here. Get used to it, this shit is never going away.

    1. Lord Fauci has decreed it.

      1. some asshole congressman was double-masked on tv today you couldn’t hear a goddam thing he said … maybe it’s an okay idea

        1. It would be better if one layer was plastic.

  5. And we can expect the CDC to revise their guidelines to exempt all those vaccinated, and those who have had the virus from their “restrictions”?

    1. It won’t be “fair”.

  6. Bailey still does not get it. Once we are ready to “go back to something resembling normal” there will be another virus, or another variant, and the dystopia will snap right back into place.

    Masks, lockdowns, stay-at-home orders, business restrictions, etc., are all here to stay. It is never going to end. It won’t even have to be a novel virus. A bad strain of the flu, or a cold, will be enough to send us down this rabbit hole yet again.

    The precedent has been set. We have been conditioned. Overreaction in the name of public health is the only reaction. The government is Pavlov, and we the people are the dogs.

    1. I wonder how long it will be before gun ownership is declared a “pandemic”.

      1. CDC does gun research but is explicitly prohibited from any advocacy of gun control.

        1. So far.

    2. If so, it could do what some thought nuclear weapons availability would do: disperse the population into the countryside. What’s the use of being close if you can’t gather?

      1. That’s already happening.

  7. So by June 4, Gu projects that 63 million Americans would be immune due to prior infections, 37 million would be immune due to both prior infections and vaccination, and 95 million immune solely as a result of vaccination.

    Ah-HA! Bailey, you just made your first slip up. You’ve admitted that prior infection confers immunity.

    1. “There are about 50 confirmed cases of reinfection globally. That’s far less than 1% of the 111 million coronavirus cases reported around the world. ”

      Please note the hilarious math helper than 50/111,000,000 is far less than 1%.

      1. And there are 8 Billion people on earth.

      2. In the US, it’s one out of 4.67 million. You can’t even meaningfully represent that as a percentage without using scientific notation. How many of those “reinfections” happened because the first positive test was a false positive?

  8. >(On the other hand, researchers are hard at work on universal coronavirus and influenza vaccines that could greatly reduce future misery and deaths from these viruses.)

    That just argues for us to stay in lockdown until we have better flu vaccines, as the prior death toll was unacceptable.

    Right?

  9. Adding a third vaccine could get America back to something resembling normal by this spring.

    Common sense, tarring and feathering all politicians, ending lock downs, and many more things would get us back to a true normal almost instantly.

    1. >>tarring and feathering all politicians

      lamppost at the very least. throw tomatoes (and batteries for you Phillies Phans) at them while they hang by their feet

    2. “tarring and feathering all politicians”

      I have a better idea. How about tarring and matches?

  10. In data scientist Youyang Gu’s “path to herd immunity normality” calculations, he projects that it won’t be until June 4, 2021, that the low 60 percent herd immunity threshold of 195 million Americans is reached.

    Not to beat on dead horses, but remember, according to CDC estimates, the number of people who are believed to have been infected over and above the confirmed infected rate is 5x. If the CDC estimates are correct, then we’re close to herd immunity now.

    1. Gu’s forecast bakes in those estimates (or rather his own, as detailed here: https://covid19-projections.com/estimating-true-infections-revisited/).

    2. Computer models show that by June 4th, herd immunity will be 125%.

  11. I was thinking the same thing reading this. Also it feels like Bailey and others are trying to put us through a real life episode of ST:TNG “chain of command”

    1. That was supposed to be a reply to Diane (Paul)

  12. We all know to expect the virus to move seasonally because by now we’ve seen it happen multiple times.

    The vaccine isn’t going to “stop” covid, spring is.

    Stop giving credit to people who do not deserve it.

    1. I really don’t understand this hill that a certain breed of libertarian (and conservative) is going to die on re: vaccination. Yeah, COVID is going to go away (somewhat) because of the seasonality, but vaccination prevents it from snapping back to anywhere approaching the same degree as we move back indoors and it prevents those counties that haven’t seen much of an outbreak from suffering their own.

      If you don’t feel the need to protect yourself or your family then feel free, but don’t denigrate the process because you’re upset over all of the past year’s bullshit. This is an almost unalloyed good, not least because it enhances our argument with the safety-obsessed majority that these evil restrictions can be cast off without DOOOOOOMMMM resulting.

      1. Common ordinary herd immunity would have kicked in long ago if not for the lockdowns. The pisser about the vaccines is not reluctance at getting a government jab, but disgust at all these people telling themselves the lockdowns are due to lack of vaccines, therefore government lockdowns were appropriate, and if everyone just lays back and enjoys it a little bit longer, it will all be over safely.

        Read this. He compares the lockdowns to WW I trench warfare, where the isolation caused evolution to treat the lethal mutations as the successful ones because they got the soldiers out of isolation in the trenches and into the hospital and transport system where the could spread; normal viruses keep the sick ones at home and the mild cases out and about.

        1. There is nothing common or ordinary about natural herd immunity.

          It does not exist for influenza even with vaccines for example.

          It does not exist for hepatitis B. We even have a vaccine for that.

          In 2019 there were 1289 reported cases of measles in the US a disease we thought defeated. MMR vaccination is a triumph in public health. It happened in unvaccinated communities. Herd immunity is not immunity at all.

      2. Being told we need masks and distancing after getting vaccinated denigrates the process.

        1. The vaccines prevent moderate to severe symptomatic disease in most cases.

          It is important to understand what they do and do not do.

          It has “denigrated the process”.

          This is real time biology not a car purchase.

          If you are exposed your immune system kicks in to fight off the virus. If you have previously been exposed or vaccinated it kicks in faster. It is always a race between you and the pathogen.

          To what extent it prevents transmission to others is an open question. All of this is an experiment as the vaccines have been rushed to use. Israel is the first real time experiment. Watch results from there.

          J&J vaccine has been approved now. The bad news is there is not much of it.

      3. >>If you don’t feel the need to protect yourself or your family then feel free

        ya dude tried that. led to Karenlanche and 4000 Bailey articles about the end of the world

  13. Woka Cola could have vaccines in Woke Zero and teachers unions would still rail to keep their babysitter donors at home. Blue governors would still require mask wearing and restrict how many people can sit in a restaurant. Bars will remain closed. Sports teams will continue to play in bubble areas in front of cardboard fans. Robbie, vaccines won’t pave a path for returning to normal.

  14. Except that we will still be required to wear masks no many how vaccines we take. Well, probably 3 of masks. And we will eventually be required to take a vaccine to go out of our homes, well probably all of them.

    The FDA has had nothing to do with health for a long time. Their goal is to protect their own little fiefdom and they can do so mostly by protecting the big pharm companies from competition.

    None of this has anything do do with returning to normal. Unless you mean the ‘new normal’.

    Fuck the new normal and fuck the FDA and their buds in pharm companies and congress.

  15. This is great. If Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine is effective, I hope that more vaccines will enter the market and everyone can get vaccinated so that COVID-19 will not recur, people will be healthy and the world will recover. When it’s normal, you can buy a new Bandage Dresses and go to the beach for a holiday

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