(NBC News) Johnson & Johnson began shipping the first doses of its COVID-19 vaccine Monday, providing another tool in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
"We're shipping four million literally as we speak. We committed to doing 100 million by June of this year," CEO Alex Gorsky said as the first shipments rolled out.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is the third approved for emergency use in the United States, and offers a life line for those waiting in line for a shot at eventually getting back to normal.
In clinical trials the Johnson & Johnson vaccine demonstrated a 72-percent efficacy in the United States and was 100-percent effective at preventing COVID-related hospitalizations and deaths.
The vaccine can also be stored at regular refrigeration levels and requires just one shot.
The rollout comes as a growing number of communities begin to rollback COVID-19 restrictions and safety initiatives, a move that concerns doctors.
"At this level of cases, with variants spreading, we stand to completely lose the hard earned ground we have gained," Centers for Disease Control Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky warns.
There has been a slight uptick over the last few days in the number of new infections and deaths from the virus.
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