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Nigeria Authorises J&J Vaccine today in third Approval Covid Vaccines

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The National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) will today issue an emergency use authorization (EUA) for the single-dose Covid-19 vaccines developed by Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson.

This follows Nigeria’s bid to get 29.6 million doses of the viral vector vaccine through the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust led by Afreximbank.

NAFDAC had previously approved EUA for Pfizer-BioNtech and AstraZeneca vaccine developed by the University of Oxford.

Nigeria in March received about 4 million doses of AstraZeneca from 13 million expected from COVAX and approximately 2 million people have been vaccinated in the first phase of ongoing vaccination.

The federal ministry of health targets vaccinating 70 percent of over 200 million Nigerians in the race to achieve herd immunity by 2022 and J&J vaccines is expected to play a part.

Unlike mRNA based vaccines which require two doses for full efficacy, Johnson and Johnson vaccine needs only a single dose and has an efficacy rate of 85 percent in preventing severe disease across boards, protects against COVID-19 related hospitalization and death, beginning 28 days after vaccination.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine uses a disabled adenovirus to deliver the instructions to the body on how to defeat the coronavirus, much unrelated to replicating a real viral infection in the body.

The vaccine got emergency authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in February, after which it hit the rocks of suspensions and restrictions over alleged links to rare blood clots.

Ireland, for instance, restricted J&J vaccines to people over 50 years while Denmark on May 3 became the first country to exclude the shots from its vaccination programme.

But after the company established no clear causal relationship between its vaccine and clots and a review by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) maintained that the benefits outweigh any risks, countries have resumed use.

France, Germany, Greece, Italy Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweeden, and the United States has resumed rolling out the vaccine also in April.

The US Centre for Disease Control (CDC) and FDA on April 23 recommended the use of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine resume.

However, women younger than 50 years old especially should be aware of the rare risk of blood clots with low platelets after vaccination, and that other COVID-19 vaccines are available where this risk has not been seen.

BUSINESSDAY

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