Health Canada approves Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine

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      Health Canada has authorized the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine for use in the country.

      Developed by Janssen Pharmaceutica, a Belgium-based division of Johnson & Johnson, the vaccine is the fifth approval. Three other vaccines and one recombinant have previously been approved in Canada: Pfizer-BionTech, Moderna, and Oxford AstraZeneca and its recombinant version from the Serum Institute of India.

      “It can be stored and transported at refrigerated temperatures between two and eight degrees Celsius for at least three months, giving greater flexibility in how it can be distributed across Canada,” Dr. Supriya Sharma, the chief medical adviser at Health Canada, said today.

      This COVID-19 vaccine can be used for those 18 years old and above. Sharma said 20 percent of participants in clinical trials were 65 years old and above, and no differences in safety or efficacy were observed compared to younger groups.

      “It was shown to be 66 percent effective overall in preventing moderate to severe COVID-19,” she said. “This exceeds efficacy standards issued by Health Canada, the World Health Organization and other major regulators, such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.”

      While each vaccine has unique characteristics, she said the benefits of all vaccines outweigh potential risks.

      “Our advice to Canadians is to get whichever vaccine is available to you,” she said. “The longer you wait to get vaccination the longer the time goes by that you are not protected.”

      The United States became the first country to approve the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine on February 26.

      The delivery timelines for the Johnson & Johnson will be announced.

      B.C provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry stated a briefing on March 4 that the AstraZeneca-Serum Institute of India vaccine will arrive in B.C. in the coming days.