EU regulators approve Johnson & Johnson Covid shot

The European Union’s drugs regulator on Thursday approved Johnson & Johnson’s single dose Covid-19 vaccine, as the bloc seeks to speed up its inoculation campaign and ramp up  supplies.

It is the fourth shot to get the green light in the EU after vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca-Oxford University. The U.S. jab_ the first single-dose shot_ is recommended for those over 18, the  European Medicines agency (EMA) said.

The U.S., Canada and Bahrain have also approved the shot.

“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,” EMA’s Executive Director Emer Cooke said.

Final approval by the European Commission is expected soon. EU rules allow for a treatment to be sold for a year without full data on its efficacy and side-effects being available.

The approval comes amid a spike in cases across the continent including in Romania where new restrictions have been imposed. Italy and France have gone into fresh lockdowns.

J&J chief scientific officer Paul Stoffels described it as a “landmark moment” for the U.S. drug maker.

Governments are struggling to control the pandemic which started a year ago which has battered economies and led to more than  2.7 million deaths.

The shot, called COVID Vaccine Janssen will help boost EU vaccine supplies after a stuttering rollout caused by delays in deliveries from Pfizer and AstraZeneca.

J&J has agreed to deliver at least 200 million doses to the EU this year. The first shipments are expected next month.

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