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Janssen vaccine greenlighted

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PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF UN The AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine is delivered to a warehouse in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The Janssen Covid-19 vaccine was publicly approved for international use by UN health agency expert advisory board, SAGE, which allayed concerns over clotting events being associated by some countries, without definitive evidence, with coronavirus jabs.

In a virtual press conference from Geneva, SAGE hailed the one-dose Janssen shot — produced by a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary — as a safe and lifesaving addition to the three other vaccines it has already approved for use: Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca.

The expert panel also noted that clotting episodes — also known as hypercoagulable events — were a symptom of Covid-19, amid the suspension of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine by several European countries, pending scientific review.

“The world is in a place where there is insufficient supply to meet the requirements of people who need to be vaccinated; clearly, any of these vaccines are lifesaving products,” said Dr. Kate O’Brien, Director, Department of Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals at the World Health Organization (WHO).

She insisted that the vaccines “need to be used as quickly as we can get them deployed. People can have confidence in their safety and efficacy and in the quality of the manufacture of the products.”

During trials for the Janssen vaccine involving nearly 44,000 people, 10 of the 22,000 people who received the blank dose developed a blood clot — or thrombo-embolic events — while 14 of the remaining 22,000 who were inoculated, developed a clot.

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