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Photo: Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Johnson & Johnson has begun phase 3 trials in the U.S. for its one-shot coronavirus vaccine, with plans to enroll the most participants of any trial yet.

The big picture: Johnson & Johnson's vaccine has several advantages over its competitors that make it a promising option for mass distribution: The company is initially testing it as one dose and it does not have to be frozen for storage.

  • The Johnson & Johnson phase 3 trials will enroll 60,000 participants.

Between the lines: There's an increased scrutiny on the safety of any coronavirus vaccine that comes to market, and the FDA is planning on toughening the requirements for emergency authorization.

  • “With a larger trial, it also increases the safety data set,” said Dan Barouch, director of the Center for Virology and Vaccine Research at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, according to the Washington Post. “Safety has been a lot in the public eye, and increasing the size of trials increases the safety data set as well.”
  • It is the 4th vaccine in the U.S. to enter Phase 3.

Go deeper

Updated 17 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: CDC prepares tougher testing rules for international travelers — U.S. on the lookout for Omicron casesFDA panel backs Merck's antiviral COVID pill.
  2. Politics: Biden says fight against Omicron won't include "shutdowns or lockdowns" — Two federal judges temporarily block Biden vaccine mandates.
  3. Vaccines: Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world — Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters — Pentagon denies Oklahoma National Guard request for exemption from vaccine mandate.
  4. World: Omicron variant detected in more countriesWHO advises people 60 or older to postpone travel due to Omicron — COVID-19 "radically altered mobility" globally, UN says.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Dec 31, 2020 - Health

U.S. set to end 2020 with just over 3 million vaccine doses administered

A healthcare worker hands Patrick Range, Sr., 88, a vaccination card after giving him the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami on Dec. 30. Photo: Marco Bello/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Americans received just over 3 million initial doses of coronavirus vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech in the 19 days following first shipments, according to a Bloomberg tally of government websites and CDC data.

Why it matters: It's far below Operation Warp Speed's goal of administering 20 million doses by the end of the year, raising concerns about how long it may be until enough people are vaccinated in the U.S. for life to return to normal.

Dec 31, 2020 - Health

China approves state-owned Sinopharm vaccine

Sinopharm vaccine. Photo Illustration: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Health regulators in China said Thursday they have approved the country's first homegrown COVID-19 vaccine, developed by the state-owned pharmaceutical company Sinopharm, for general use, AP reports.

Why it matters: Like the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, Sinopharm's shot is said to be cheaper and easier to store than Pfizer or Moderna's vaccines.