The European Medicines Agency approved Johnson & Johnson’s endoscopic coronavirus vaccine on Thursday, giving the European Union’s 27 nations a fourth licensed vaccine to try to curb the pandemic in the middle of a halted vaccination operation in the block
The EU Medicines Agency said that it recommended that the vaccine be approved “after a thorough evaluation” of Johnson & Johnson’s data, finding that it met the criteria for efficacy, safety and quality.
“With this latest positive opinion, EU-wide authorities will have another option to fight the pandemic and protect the lives and health of their citizens,” said Emer Cooke, EMA’s Executive Director.
EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides said the formal approval of the vaccine would follow shortly.
“This marks another important step towards ensuring that all citizens can have access to safe and effective vaccinations as soon as possible. The European Commission’s approval will soon follow,” Kyriakides wrote on Twitter.
Welcome @EMA_News announcement of a positive opinion about the @JNJNews vaccine for use in 🇪🇺.
This marks another important step towards ensuring that all citizens can have access to safe and effective vaccinations as soon as possible. @ EU_Commission authorization coming soon
– Stella Kyriakides (@SKyriakidesEU) March 11, 2021
The American pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson (J&J) submitted on February 16 for approval of the vaccine, developed by the Belgian subsidiary Janssen.
Its approval gives a boost to the EU’s sluggish vaccination program, although reports say that the first doses from J&J transports may not reach European countries until April.
The move comes as several European countries have suspended their roll-out of the AstraZeneca vaccine, citing concerns for patients who develop blood clots after getting a jab.
The EU has so far approved three vaccines – Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca jab developed by the University of Oxford.
Three other vaccines are under “rolling review” by Amsterdam-based EMA – Novavax, CureVac and Russia’s Sputnik V.
In addition to being the first to require a single injection as opposed to two, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is easier to store.
However, the J&J shot seems less protective than Pfizer and Modern’s regimes, both of which have an effect of about 95 percent against all forms of Covid-19 from the classic coronavirus strain.
( Jowharwith AP, AFP)