A Covid vaccine that only requires one dose could be approved for use in the UK as soon as next month, it ’s been reported.
The jab manufactured by American pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson may be ready to receive emergency authorisation within weeks, ministers believe – adding another crucial tool to the UK ’s battle against the virus.
In contrast to the two vaccine candidates that are already in use in the UK, the so-called ‘Janssen vaccine ’ can be administered in a single shot, giving people protection far quicker.
Both the Pfizer and Oxford vaccines require two doses at least three weeks apart and the UK has recently extended the gap to 12 weeks in order to give as many people as possible some level of immunisation.Advertisement Advertisement
The UK has already ordered 30 million doses of the Janssen vaccine, with the option of 22 million more, and officials believe supplies could arrive in time to help the Government hit its target of vaccinating the four most vulnerable groups by mid-February, according to The Telegraph.
Sir John Bell, regius professor at Oxford University and an adviser to the UK ’s Vaccine Taskforce, told the paper the drug was ‘highly likely to work ’ and could greatly boost efforts to vaccinate the most vulnerable quickly.
He said: ‘My prediction is that it ’ll work well, although we need to wait for the trial results. I think they will have supplies available for the UK in a time frame that would allow it just to catch the mid-February target of getting the numbers up.
‘I think it may well have a material impact on what we can do in the UK to get more people vaccinated. ’The Johnson & Johnson vaccine could help protect the most vulnerable faster (Picture: REX)
The Janseen vaccine – named after the Belgian arm of Johnson & Johnson – uses a similar method to the candidate developed by Oxford scientists in the UK meaning it can be safely stored and transported at standard fridge temperatures.
Patients currently receiving their first dose of the Oxford or Pfizer vaccine must wait 12 weeks until getting the second dose and then two to three weeks for it to be effective, meaning they may not have sufficient protection until mid-April.
This in turn will delay the country ’s move out of lockdown because ministers have said restrictions will not be eased until the most vulnerable groups are vaccinated.
In contrast, if the Janseen jab was proven to be effective and someone were to receive a dose today, they could expect to safely to go back to normal life by the end of January.