WHO approves J&J Covid vax for emergency use

The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Friday approved Johnson & Johnson’s single dose Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use in all countries and for COVAX roll-out.

The decision comes on the back of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) authorisation, which was announced on Thursday.

“Every new, safe and effective tool against Covid-19 is another step closer to controlling the pandemic,” WHO Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said in a statement.

“But the hope offered by these tools will not materialise unless they are made available to all people in all countries.

“I urge governments and companies to live up to their commitments and to use all solutions at their disposal to ramp up production so that these tools become truly global public goods, available and affordable to all, and a shared solution to the global crisis,” he said.

The Johnson & Johnson Covid vaccine vaccine is the first to be listed by WHO as a single dose regimen, which should facilitate vaccination logistics in all countries.

Ample data from large clinical trials shared by the company also shows that the vaccine is effective in older populations.

While the vaccine needs to be stored at minus 20 degrees, which may prove challenging in some environments, it can be kept for three months at 2-8 degree Celsius and it has a long shelf life of two years.

WHO has also listed the Pfizer/BioNTech, Astrazeneca-SK Bio and Serum Institute of India vaccines for emergency use.