BRUSSELS, March 11 (Xinhua) — The European Union (EU) authorized the use of a COVID-19 vaccine produced by Johnson & Johnson on Thursday afternoon, only hours after the European Medicines Agency (EMA) made a positive recommendation based on scientific assessment of its efficacy and safety.
Developed by Janssen, the pharmaceutical arm of Johnson & Johnson, it is the fourth vaccine the EU has granted the conditional marketing authorization, after those of BioNTech-Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca.
“More safe and effective vaccines are coming to the market,” said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Twitter. “With the number of doses we ordered, we could vaccinate up to 200 million people in the EU.”
EMA recommended the use of the Janssen vaccine among people over 18 years of age. It is also the first COVID-19 vaccine which can be used in a single dose, said EMA’s Executive Director Emer Cooke.
Results from a clinical trial involving 44,000 people in the United States, South Africa and Latin American countries showed that the vaccine had a 67 percent efficacy, according to EMA.
The EU has rolled out vaccination programs aiming at inoculating 70 percent of its adult population by Sept. 21.
Meanwhile, 263 candidate vaccines are still being developed worldwide — 81 of them in clinical trials — in countries including Germany, China, Russia, Britain, and the United States, according to information released by the World Health Organization on March 9.