EU drug regulator recommends Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine for bloc

GENEVA (BLOOMBERG) – Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus vaccine won clearance from the European Union’s drugs regulator, paving the way for the first single-injection shot to help bolster the region’s sluggish vaccination campaign.

The European Medicines Agency recommended that the EU approve the vaccine for people 18 and above in a statement on Thursday (March 11). The European Commission must now rubber-stamp the decision before the product can be distributed.

The newcomer could help the bloc ramp up its immunisation effort because it can be stored in a refrigerator for long periods – unlike two of the other three vaccines available in the EU – and the logistics of injecting a single dose are far simpler. The shot protected all volunteers in clinical trials against hospitalisation and death from Covid-19.

The EU has purchased 200 million doses of the vaccine, with an option for 200 million more.

The Commission had said previously deliveries were expected to begin in early April, but officials are now bracing themselves for delays, two people with knowledge of the process said earlier this week. At a meeting of EU ambassadors on Wednesday, diplomats were told J&J has yet to provide a delivery schedule for the shot.

The vaccine is the fourth to be cleared in the region after those made by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford, Pfizer and partner BioNTech, and Moderna.

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