The Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine has been authorized by the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced Wednesday.

A vial of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine is displayed at South Shore University Hospital, Wednesday, March 3, 2021 in Bay Shore, N.Y. Janssen Pharmaceuticals is a division of Johnson & Johnson.

A vial of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine is displayed at South Shore University Hospital, Wednesday, March 3, 2021 in Bay Shore, N.Y. Janssen Pharmaceuticals is a division of Johnson & Johnson.

Mark Lennihan / AP

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The group — comprised of public health experts from Washington, California, Oregon and Nevada — was created last year to independently review the safety and efficacy of any coronavirus vaccine approved by the FDA before any distribution occurs in those states.

Their decision on the latest vaccine comes after the FDA and CDC granted their initial authorization for the vaccine. The group had previously reviewed the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines before the state started its vaccination process in December.

The state has so far been allocated 60,900 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, of which 20,000 doses are expected to arrive by Friday.

“The Workgroup’s authorization gives us further confidence around the safety and efficacy of the J & J vaccine,” Inslee said. “Like the other two, this vaccine offers strong protection against serious illness from COVID-19, which is critical in our fight against this deadly virus."

More than 1.6 million doses of the two-shot Pfizer-BioN-Tech and Moderna vaccines have been administered to date, and nearly 8% of Washington’s population has been fully vaccinated. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine only requires one shot.

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