UK Approves Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine

May 28, 2021 Updated: May 28, 2021

The UK’s Medicines regulator approved the one-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine on Friday.

The vaccine is authorised to be used on people aged 18 and over, and pregnant or breastfeeding women are asked to make decisions after consultation with healthcare professionals.

This is the fourth vaccine approved in the UK following Pfizer-BioNTech, Oxford-AstraZeneca, and Moderna vaccines to combat COVID-19, the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as novel coronavirus.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said the vaccine met the safety, quality, and effectiveness standards required.

“We have undertaken a thorough review of the conditional marketing authorisation application submitted by Janssen, including the information on quality, safety, and effectiveness. I am pleased to confirm today that this authorisation has been granted,” MHRA Chief Executive Dr. June Raine said in a statement on Friday.

Raine said the MHRA is “continually monitoring all COVID-19 vaccines in use once they have been approved to ensure that the benefits in protecting people against the disease continue to outweigh any risks.”

Janssen is the pharmaceutical subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson that developed the COVID-19 vaccine, which is also known as Ad26.COV2.S.

The jab should be available in the UK towards the end of this year.

The UK has ordered 20 million doses of the vaccine, which England’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer Jonathan Van-Tam has previously said could be used for hard-to-reach groups of people, where recalling them for a second jab is not always successful.

The vaccine can be stored at normal fridge temperatures which means it could be used for distribution in places such as care homes.

The MHRA is thought to have held back from early approval of the vaccine after concerns were raised in the United States about a link to extremely rare blood clots.

Belgium on Wednesday suspended its use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for people under the age of 41 following the death of a woman from severe side effects after she was given the shot.

The EU’s European Medicines Agency said on April 20 that there is a “possible link” between Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine and some cases of blood clots, but the cases are “very rare” and “unusual” and the benefits outweigh the risks.

The United States also previously suspended the vaccine, but the suspension was lifted on April 23, when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) vaccine advisory committee said the vaccine’s benefits outweigh the risks.

PA and Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.