UK approves Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose Covid vaccine to be used

A box of Janssen COVID-19 vaccine doses from Johnson & Johnson is pictured in Grubbs Pharmacy on Capitol Hill on Monday April 12, 2021.

Tom Williams | CQ Roll Call, Inc. | Getty Images

LONDON – The UK Medicines Agency approved Janssen’s single-dose Covid-19 vaccine for use on Friday.

The UK drug and health products regulator announced that doses are expected to be available in the UK later this year.

The UK Government’s Vaccine Taskforce has secured 20 million doses to be rolled out across the UK. It initially secured 30 million doses but changed the ordinance as the vaccination program continues on what the government calls “unprecedented” levels.

Earlier this year, the vaccine was found to be 67% effective in preventing infection and 85% in preventing severe cases of Covid and hospitalization. Janssen is a Johnson & Johnson pharmaceutical company.

UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock said Friday that approval of the Janssen vaccine would boost the country’s “hugely successful” vaccination program.

“As Janssen is a single-dose vaccine, it will play an important role in the coming months as we redouble our efforts to encourage everyone to get their vaccinations and possibly start a booster program later this year.” he said in a statement.

The vaccine can be stored in refrigerators at 2 to 8 degrees Celsius, which makes it easier to store and transport than some alternative vaccines.

The vaccine is the fourth to be approved for use in the UK and is approved by the MHRA along with alternatives Oxford-AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.

The Vaccine Taskforce has secured early access to more than 500 million doses from eight vaccine candidates, including those developed by Novavax, GlaxoSmithKline and CureVac, and the four that the UK has already approved for use.

Safety and effectiveness

The government said it was in regular contact with the vaccine makers to optimize supplies and prepare for a potential vaccination booster program later in 2021.

Janssen’s Covid-19 vaccine is currently involved in a government study to assess the safety and effectiveness of a third dose to boost immunity to the virus. The Oxford-AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines each require two doses for patients to achieve optimal immunity.

The UK Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization will provide updated recommendations on the use of the Janssen vaccine prior to its launch.

Janssen’s vaccine is already being used elsewhere, including the United States and the European Union.

Health officials have raised concerns about possible links between the vaccine and rare blood clots, but regulators have found that the vaccine’s benefits outweigh the risks.

Janssen is considering the possibility of a two-dose program for his vaccine, according to the UK Department of Health and Welfare.

The UK government has set a goal of offering a Covid vaccine to all adults in the country by the end of July.

More than 62.6 million vaccines had been administered in the UK as of Wednesday, with 73% of the adult population receiving their first dose. Almost half of British adults were fully vaccinated with both doses.

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