By Bobeth Yates

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A day after an independent FDA Advisory Board recommended the approval of Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus vaccine, the agency gave the company its full emergency authorization to begin distribution.

“The vaccine is highly effective in preventing severe COVID illness,” said Dr. Greg Poland, a professor of medicine and infection disease at Mayo Clinic.

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According to the FDA, Johnson & Johnson vaccine is only 66% effective overall – much less than both Moderna and Pfizer. But it vaccine is 85% effective in preventing severe illness and it provides complete protection against COVID-19 deaths 28 days after getting the shot.

“The Johnson & Johnson vaccine has a 66% effectiveness rate and the way it’s been explained to me is that basically is going to eliminate hospitalizations and death but that’s great news considering what’s been happening the last year,” said Miami resident Mike Avila.

Avila was among the more than 200 people who participated in the Johnson & Johnson vaccine trial. He got the two doses of the vaccine and said he’s already seen the benefits.

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While less effective, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has other advantages over the other two shots. It’s one dose rather than two. It can be stored for longer periods and in temperatures warmer than the Moderna and Pfizer vaccine.

But the news of the third coronavirus vaccine approval comes a UM researchers found more contagious strains of the virus locally.

“We’re seeing about 25 % of the positive samples actually reflect the UK, the variant that came over from England,” said Dr. David Andrews with the UM Miller School of Medicine.

Andrews added that’s not all they discovered.

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“It’s been fascinating to see our strains from Brazil, California, New York. We are turning up a more diverse array of strains,” he said.