Pharma giant Johnson & Johnson on Tuesday announced that it is manufacturing its COVID-19 vaccine– Janssen/ J&J vaccine in collaboration with Telangana-based Biological E. Limited in India. Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine would add a significant boost to India’s vaccination drive which is currently being carried out with three COVID-19 vaccines– Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, Serum Institute of India’s Covishield along with newly introduced Russian vaccine Sputnik V.
Approved by the WHO and the FDA, here is all you need to know about Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate.
When was the J&J vaccine approved?
Johnson and Johnson’s ‘Janssen Ad26.CoV2.S vaccine’ which is a single-shot vaccine was first approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under an Emergency Use Authorization in February 2021. The vaccine has been approved for all those aged 18 years and older.
What is the efficacy of the J&J’s vaccine?
As per the World Health Organisation, the vaccine has an efficacy of 85.4% against severe disease and hospitalisation which was observed 28 days after inoculation, and an efficacy of 66.9% against symptomatic moderate and severe infection. As of April 19 2021, the Janssen vaccine is also found to be safe and effective in protecting people from extremely serious risks of Coronavirus infection, including death and hospitalization
What is the recommended dosage?
A major advantage of the J&J vaccine is that it is a single-shot vaccine, unlike the double-dose vaccines in operation in India. The vaccine (Ad26.CoV2.S) is administered as one dose (0.5 ml) and is said to become efficacious about 28 days after inoculation. As per the WHO, there should also be a minimum interval of 14 days between the administration of this vaccine and any other vaccine against other health conditions.
Is the J&J vaccine safe?
The J&J vaccine has undergone sufficient review by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is found to be safe for use. WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) has also thoroughly assessed the vaccine’s data on quality, safety, and efficacy and has recommended its use for people aged 18 and above.
Does the J&J vaccine work against new variants of COVID-19?
While sufficient data is not available on the efficacy of most COVID-19 vaccines against the mutating Coronavirus variants, according to the WHO, it is found to be effective against the South Africa and Brazil variants of COVID-19. In clinical trials, the Janssen vaccine was tested against a variety of SARS-CoV-2 virus variants, including B1.351 (first identified in South Africa) and P.2 (first identified in Brazil), and found to be effective.
Who is the vaccine not recommended for?
The WHO recommends that individuals with a history of anaphylaxis should avoid taking the Janssen vaccine. Those with a body temperature over 38.5ºC should postpone vaccination until they no longer have a fever. The vaccine is also not recommended for persons younger than 18 years of age with the results of further studies pending for that age group. Pregnant women who are at high risk of exposure (e.g. health workers) or who have comorbidities may take the vaccine in consultation with their doctors.
What are the side effects of the J&J vaccine?
Like other vaccines, the J&K vaccine could also produce common side effects after inoculation like headache, fever, fatigue, muscle pain, nausea, redness, and swelling at the site of the injection, etc. Notably, the Jassen vaccine doses were briefly stopped from being administered in the US, EU after six cases reported blood clots, which was later categorised as “very rare” side effects. It has since been resumed.