ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — State officials expressed optimism Thursday about the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine candidate that is being manufactured in Baltimore will get emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

During a news conference Thursday afternoon, Gov. Larry Hogan said federal officials told him it should be approved for use by the end of February.

READ MORE: 2nd Gentleman Doug Emhoff Talks To Annapolis Small Business Owners About How Federal Aid Helped Them Survive Pandemic

UPDATES FROM GOV. HOGAN’S NEWS CONFERENCE:

The company filed the emergency use authorization request in late January. Unlike other vaccines, Johnson & Johnson’s requires only a single dose and does not need to be kept at subzero temperatures.

“This could very well be a major breakthrough in terms of increasing the supply of vaccines,” Hogan said. “We’re very proud that a Maryland company will be a part of that.”

Dr. David Marcozzi from the University of Maryland Medical System said all of the current vaccines, including Johnson & Johnson’s, have proven to be effective and safe while preventing hospitalizations and death.

More vaccine offerings mean more people can get vaccinated, he added.

READ MORE: Child Tax Credit: When Will Parents Get Their First Monthly Check?

“If this vaccine receives EUA approval, it will be a significant step forward and enable more of us to be protected from COVID-19,” Marcozzi said.

Even if the vaccine gets the green light, Hogan said vaccinating Marylanders will be a long progress.

READ MORE: ‘Game-Changer’ | Inside The Baltimore Lab Producing Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccines

WJZ previously got a rare look inside the Emergent BioSolutions facility in Bayview where the vaccine is being manufactured.

Watch Below: Gov. Hogan’s Full News Conference

MORE NEWS: Gov. Hogan Signs Bill To Allow Cocktails-To-Go, Alcohol Delivery Through June 2023

For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

CBS Baltimore Staff