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COVID-19 update | J&J to deliver coronavirus vaccine to Europe from April 19

The pharmaceutical giant's jab was approved by European Union regulators in mid-March, following approval of vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca.

March 29, 2021 / 10:46 PM IST
Johnson & Johnson. | Representative Image (PC-Reuters)

Johnson & Johnson. | Representative Image (PC-Reuters)

Johnson & Johnson said Monday it would start delivering its single-shot Covid vaccine to Europe on April 19, giving the continent a boost as it struggles to speed up its vaccination drive.

The pharmaceutical giant's jab was approved by European Union regulators in mid-March, following approval of vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca.

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The 27-nation EU has signed a firm order for 200 million J&J doses and an option for 200 million more.

As well as being the first that requires just a single injection rather than two, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is easier to store.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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The EMA gave the green light after saying clinical trials involving volunteers in the United States, South Africa and South American countries found the J&J jab was 67 percent effective at preventing people from getting Covid.

Several European countries have enacted new restrictions to curb a surge of infections, as vaccination campaigns have been slower than in other countries such as the United States or Britain.
AFP

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