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 Appeal, Inc. | Getty Images
LONDON – The UK Medicines Agency approved Janssen’s single-dose Covid-19 vaccine for use on Friday.
The UK Medicines and Health Products Regulator (MHRA) said in a statement that doses are expected to be available in the UK later this year.
The UK Government’s Vaccine Taskforce has set aside 20 million doses for launch in the UK. She was originally given 30 million doses, but the order has been changed 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-19 and hospitalization. Janssen is a pharmaceutical company of Johnson & Johnson.
UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock said Friday that approval of the Janssen vaccine would further bolster the country’s “hugely successful” vaccination program.
“As Janssen is a single-dose vaccine, it will play an important role in the months ahead as we redouble our efforts to encourage everyone to get their pokes and possibly start a booster program later this year.” he said in a statement.
The vaccine can be stored in refrigerators between two and eight degrees Celsius, which makes it easier to store and transport than some alternative vaccines.
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, plus the four that the UK has already approved for use.
The government said it was in regular contact with the vaccine manufacturers 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 evaluate the safety and effectiveness of a third dose to boost their 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 make 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.
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-19 vaccine to all adults in the country by the end of July.
As of May 26, the UK had administered more than 62.6 million vaccines with 73% of the adult population receiving their first dose. Almost half of British adults were fully vaccinated with both doses.