"This has just been a remarkable year in terms of the science," said Stanford infectious disease specialist, Dr. Hayley Gans, who is a member of the FDA's independent vaccine advisory committee. Pre-pandemic, Dr. Gans says the committee met twice a year to discuss the flu vaccine, but they will have met three times in just three months to review Pfizer, Moderna, and now Johnson and Johnson's vaccines.
VACCINE TRACKER: How California is doing, when you can get a coronavirus vaccine
"I think that this is actually going to set the pace for the way in which we can actually look at vaccination in the future. And that's really exciting," said Dr. Gans.
Much of the excitement, is that Johnson and Johnson's vaccine is easier to store and distribute. J&J's vaccine is only one shot, while Moderna and Pfizer require two doses.
The FDA said the J&J vaccine, which is shipped in frozen vials, now can be transported and stored for up to two weeks at the temperatures of freezers commonly found in pharmacies. The MRNA vaccines need to be kept in ultra-cold freezers.
VIDEO: When will I get the COVID-19 vaccine? We explain who goes 1st
Its overall efficacy rate is 72% in the U.S. but when it comes to preventing severe disease and death, Johnson and Johnson is 86% effective. Moderna and Pfizer's vaccines are 94% and 95% effective.
Dr. Gans expects the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee to greenlight the vaccine but she does have some questions she'd like addressed.
"I have some questions that I'd just like to clarify on how they're going to continue to monitor immunity. This is a lasting question we all have, how long will our immune response last and when and if we need boosters to this," said Dr. Gans.
Pfizer and Moderna, are doing just that, trying to stay one step ahead. They are already modifying vaccines to target the variant identified in South Africa.
Both companies are also testing a third booster shot of their original formulas to see if it offers more protection.
RELATED: Pfizer studying effects of 3rd COVID vaccine dose amid growing concerns over virus variants
"We may very well see that everyone needs to get a booster," said ABC7 special correspondent, Dr. Alok Patel. "We just don't know right now, I think the most important thing for people to know is that as of right now, these vaccines are working really well, against the strains that are dominant right now in the United States. And people just need to get whatever vaccine they can as fast as they can."
If the FDA grants emergency use to Johnson and Johnson by this weekend, three to four million doses are expected to ship in the U.S. next week.
J&J is on track to deliver 100 million doses by the end of June, which would likely ensure a surplus of doses in the U.S. since Pfizer and Moderna are on track to deliver enough doses for 300 million people by the end of July.
RELATED STORIES & VIDEOS:
- How to register for COVID-19 vaccine in every Bay Area county
- Map: CA counties that can, can't reopen under new rules
- VIDEO: When will I get the COVID-19 vaccine? We explain who goes 1st
- Updated number of COVID-19 deaths, cases in Bay Area
- Map shows everywhere you can get a COVID-19 test in the Bay Area
- How are Chinatown businesses surviving? Here's what we found
- From COVID-19 to Black Lives Matter, these 13 people defined the Bay Area in 2020
- COVID-19 Diaries: Personal stories of Bay Area residents during pandemic
- California EDD: The most commonly asked questions we get about unemployment and PUA
- How to tell the difference between seasonal allergies and coronavirus symptoms
- Here's which mask is better to protect from COVID-19
- First COVID-19 vaccine volunteers in US describe experience as Bay Area launches vaccine trials
- Coronavirus origin: Where did COVID-19 come from?
- What is a COVID-19 genetic, antigen and antibody test?
- What will it take to get a COVID-19 vaccine and how will it be made?
- What does COVID-19 do to your body and why does it spread so easily?
- Here's how shelter in place, stay at home orders can slow spread of COVID-19
- Coronavirus Timeline: Tracking major moments of COVID-19 pandemic in San Francisco Bay Area
- Coronavirus Doctor's Note: Dr. Alok Patel gives his insight into COVID-19 pandemic