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Europe’s pharmaceutical regulator recommends use of Johnson & Johnson vaccine

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The European Medicines Agency (EMA) on Thursday greenlighted the Coronavirus vaccine developed by Johnson & Johnson for use across the EU in people from 18 years of age.

The Belgian-based company Janssen Pharmaceutica, owned by US pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson had applied for a conditional marketing authorisation in mid-February. The European Commission has already agreed for 200 doses with an option to order an extra 200 million. The first jabs could be available in Europe by April 1. 

“After a thorough evaluation, EMA’s human medicines committee (CHMP) concluded by consensus that the data on the vaccine were robust and met the criteria for efficacy, safety and quality,” the Amsterdam-based agency said in a statement.  

The move by the pharmaceutical regulator gave the bloc its fourth vaccine against Coronavirus, as EMA has already approved the jabs developed by Pfizer/BioNTech, AstraZeneca/Oxford and Moderna, while it is currently evaluating the safety and efficacy of the Russian-made jab, namely Sputnik V. 

“With this latest positive opinion, authorities across the European Union will have another option to combat the pandemic and protect the lives and health of their citizens,” said Emer Cooke, EMA’s Executive Director, highlighting that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is the first one that can be administered as a single dose. 

In late January, Johnson and Johnson said their new single shot of their COVID-19 vaccine is 85% effective in preventing severe illness, and 66% effective in preventing symptomatic illnesses. 

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