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What we’re reading: FDA approves Johnson & Johnson vaccine, Biden lifts immigration ban

FILE – This Dec. 2, 2020 photo provided by Johnson & Johnson shows vials of the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine in the United States. Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine protects against COVID-19, according to an analysis by U.S. regulators Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021, that sets the stage for a final decision on a new and easier-to-use shot to help tame the pandemic. The Food and Drug Administration’s scientists confirmed that overall, it’s about 66% effective and also said J&J’s shot, one that could help speed vaccinations by requiring just one dose instead of two, is safe to use. (Johnson & Johnson via AP)

Johnson & Johnson receives approval from FDA

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine is “safe and effective” in a review of the vaccine on Wednesday, according to the Washington Post.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is different from the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines because it requires only one dose.

This caused worries for when the vaccine goes public due to the possibility of the public preferring to wait to get a one-dose vaccine, which could harm the logistical benefit of producing the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to increase the dosages available to the public.

Another worry associated with this vaccine is “the lower efficacy among higher-risk older adults,” but the concerns associated with the vaccine haven’t stopped the FDA from pushing production forward.

President Biden lifts immigration ban

President Joe Biden pauses after signing an executive order relating to U.S. supply chains, in the State Dining Room of the White House, Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Joe Biden lifted a freeze issuing green cards implemented by former President Donald Trump, according to the Associated Press.

The ban that began last spring caused the backlog of visas to reach 473,000 for just family-based visas, California immigration lawyer Curtis Morrison told AP.

The United States provides “up to 55,000 visas a year for immigrants whose nationalities are underrepresented in the U.S. population,” according to AP. The visas must be used within six months.

President Biden also proposed legislation that would limit future presidential power to issue immigration bans.

Unemployment shows small improvement

The number of those claiming to be jobless declined by 111,000 last week, according to the Labor Department, but remains a historic high at 730,000 claims.

The economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect the labor market, but economists believe this drop may be a sign that layoffs may have eased.

“The drop may be signaling a turning point for labor market conditions,” Nancy Vanden Houten, a lead economist at Oxford Economics, told AP.

This drop followed key sectors of the economy also showing signs of recovery as vaccinations increase and government aid works its way through the economy.

“The prospects for the economy in 2021 and beyond have brightened,” said Richard Clarida, a vice chair at the Federal Reserve Board.

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