Vaccine

By the end of Thursday, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) is expected to clear the way for the European Commission to approve the COVID vaccine produced by Janssen, a subsidiary of US pharma giant Johnson & Johnson.

This version of the vaccine, which was revealed in January to work with just a single dose, is expected to arrive in the EU by 1st April, at the very earliest.

As reported by Politico, unlike Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson has not committed any shipments until the second quarter of the year, meaning there will likely be at least a three week lag between its approval and its distribution.

On Wednesday, after the Government was forced to announce a raft of new restrictions in the light of Malta’s highest number of daily COVID cases ever, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Health Chris Fearne commented the country has 250,000 doses of the vaccine already reserved. 

Speaking as spiralling cases and newly announced tight restrictions in Malta have seen the vaccination rollout program being viewed with more and more urgency, Mr Fearne also announced the opening of two more vaccine centres. One will be at MCAST, and the other at the Aurora in Gozo.

The Johnson & Johnson offering will be the fourth vaccine to have gained EMA approval, after those produced by Pfizer, Moderna, and AstraZeneca. 

So far, the EU has received more than 50 million vaccine doses in total, although European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has said that this will reach a monthly 100 million during April

Also in recent days, it was announced that Russia will be producing its version of the vaccine, Sputnik V at a plant in Italy, representing its first EU contract.

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