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Comparing the three major COVID-19 vaccines

Johnson & Johnson is preparing to ask for emergency authorization from the FDA before shipping its one-dose vaccine.

Johnson & Johnson is preparing to ask for emergency authorization of its COVID-19 vaccine soon, bringing another version of the vaccine to the market.

The vaccine will only require one shot, compared to the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines which require two doses. Since it only requires one shot, officials hope it will make distributing the vaccine easier.

The vaccine uses an adenovirus, a type of virus that causes the common cold, which has been made unable to replicate. The virus carries a gene from COVID-19 into human calls, so that they can produce the coronavirus protein and help the immune system develop the ability to fight it off.

The approach was used in the company's Ebola vaccine, as well as other investigational vaccines for HIV, officials said.

However, they also said that the vaccine is 66% effective at preventing moderate and severe COVID-19 illnesses. Officials said it is 85% effective at preventing serious symptoms.

Both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are around 95% effective at preventing illnesses. They both require two doses though, which can complicate their distribution. 

They use mRNA to teach cells how to make the protein needed to fend off COVID-19, instead of an adenovirus. 

Moderna and Pfizer are currently being distributed. However, Johnson & Johnson still needs FDA emergency authorization before it can start shipping doses.