By: Vincenzo Morello
The Canadian government has approved use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine in Canada.
“After a thorough, independent review of the evidence, the Department has determined that the vaccine meets Canada’s stringent safety, efficacy and quality requirements,” a statement from Health Canada said today.
The vaccine, which is produced by Johnson & Johnson’s pharmaceutical subsidiary Janssen Inc., can be stored and transported at refrigerated temperatures of from 2 C to 8 C for at least three months.
At a news conference on Friday, Health Canada’s chief medical adviser, Dr. Supriya Sharma, said that the single-dose Janssen vaccine had been authorized for use for people over the age of 18 and was shown to be 66 per cent effective in preventing moderate to severe cases of COVID-19.
Sharma said the Janssen vaccine shares common side effects such as pain and tenderness at the injection site, headache, muscle pain, fever and chills. She added that the majority of adverse reactions in clinical trials were mild to moderate in severity and resolved in a few days.
“Assessing all the data, we concluded that there was strong evidence that showed that the benefits of this vaccine outweigh the potential risks,” Sharma said.
Sharma also said that ongoing studies expect to provide more data on the safety and efficacy of the vaccine in other populations, such as children, and that a clinical trial in children aged 12 to 17 has already been authorized by Health Canada.
The Janssen vaccine is a viral vector-based vaccine, which means it uses a harmless virus as a delivery system. Once injected into the body the virus within the vaccine produces the SARS-Cov-2 spike protein.
Through this process the body is able to create a strong immune response to the spike protein without exposing you to the virus that causes COVID-19.
Canada has already ordered 10 million doses of the Janssen vaccine with an option to purchase 28 million more, and expects the first 10 million doses to arrive before the end of the third quarter.
The Janssen vaccine is the fourth vaccine Canada has approved.
The others are the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccines, as well as another version of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine that is being produced by the Serum Institute of India.
With files from CBC News (Ryan Patrick Jones, David Cochrane)
By: Vincenzo Morello