The World Health Organization (WHO) on March 12, 2021, issued emergency use authorization for Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus vaccine.
This paves the way for the one-shot vaccine dose to be used as part of the United Nation’s international vaccine distribution effort.
WHO’s approval for the vaccine comes a day after the European Union gave its approval to the vaccine. This means that countries that receive shots through the UN’s COVAX effort could cite the new endorsement in the distribution of the shot.
WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesu said in a statement that every new, safe and effective tool against COVID-19 is another step closer to controlling the pandemic. “But the hope offered by these tools will not materialize unless they are made available to all people in all countries,” he added.
The WHO Director-General further urged governments and companies to live up to their commitments and use all solutions at their disposal to ramp up production of the vaccines to make them globally available and affordable for all.
Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine
•Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus vaccine is the first single-dose vaccine to be listed by WHO.
•The efficiency data from the large clinical trials conducted by the company show the vaccine to be particularly effective in older populations.
•WHO and a team of assessors from all regions had adopted an ‘abbreviated assessment’ based on outcomes of the EMA review and evaluation of quality, safety, and efficacy data focused on low- and middle-income country needs to expedite listing of the vaccine.
•The WHO assessment considered suitability requirements as well such as cold chain storage and risk management plans to be implemented in countries.
What are the storage criteria for the vaccine?
The vaccine needs to be stored at -20 degrees. This may prove challenging in some environments. However, the vaccine has a long shelf life of two years and it can be kept for three months at 2-8°C.
Is Johnson &Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine effective?
According to studies, Johnson &Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine is 66 percent effective in protecting any cases of moderate to severe illness and 85 percent effective against severe cases of COVID-19.
The vaccine completely prevented hospitalizations and death four weeks after vaccination.
The World Health Organization had earlier listed the Pfizer/BioNTech, Astrazeneca-SK Bio, and Serum Institute of India vaccines for emergency use.