Bangladesh approves emergency use of J&J's Janssen COVID-19 vaccine

The Directorate General of Drug Administration has authorised the emergency use of Johnson & Johnson's Janssen coronavirus vaccine in Bangladesh.

The approval of emergency usage of a sixth COVID-19 vaccine in the country was announced in a media statement signed by the DGDA’s Director General Mahbubur Rahman on Tuesday.

The DGDA previously approved the use of Oxford/AstraZeneca’s COVISHIELD produced by Serum Institute of India, Russia’s Sputnik-V, Sinopharm’s vaccine made in China, Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine and Sinovac Life Sciences' vaccine.

The drug directorate said the vaccine can be administered to individuals aged 18 and above and all those included in the government's deployment plan. It has to be preserved at a temperature of 2 to 8 degrees Celsius.

The inoculation through this vaccine will require a single dose whereas all the other vaccines need a course of two periodic shots.

The shot, called COVID Vaccine Janssen, was found to be 66 percent effective at preventing moderate-to-severe COVID-19 four weeks after inoculation in global trials.

It was 100 percent effective in preventing hospitalisation and death due to the virus.

The GAVI Vaccine Alliance said late last month it has agreed to buy 200 million doses of J&J's vaccine as it sought to fill a shortfall in COVAX provision caused by India suspending exports.

Two US-made batches with millions of vaccines have been on hold for weeks as the European Medicines Agency (EMA) assesses their safety after cases of contaminations at a factory run by J&J subcontractor Emergent in the United States.

In another hiccup, Johnson & Johnson also briefly suspended deliveries to the EU just after it began them in April over health concerns. The vaccine has been linked to very rare but serious cases of blood clots.

[With details from Reuters]