The UK has ordered 30 million doses of the jab with the option of 22 million more, pending approval by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). Health Secretary Matt Hancock hailed the “good news” and said it could “significantly bolster” Britain’s vaccination programme.
The vaccine, which has been developed by Johnson & Johnson’s pharmaceutical arm Janssen, is 66 percent effective at preventing moderate to severe coronavirus.
And the jab is 85 percent effective in preventing severe disease “and demonstrated complete protection against Covid-19 related hospitalisation and death as of day 28”.
A huge advantage of the vaccine is that it can be given as a single dose as opposed to other jabs which require two.
It comes as the UK is pushing ahead with its vaccine rollout, which has already seen more than 7.4 million people receive their first dose and nearly half a million have their second.
Mr Hancock tweeted: “This is yet more good news from Janssen on vaccines.
“If this jab is approved this could significantly bolster our vaccination programme, especially as a single-dose vaccine.
“Once the full data has been submitted to the @MHRAgovuk, they will consider the evidence to determine whether the vaccine meets robust standards of safety, effectiveness & quality.
“We’re rolling-out vaccines as quickly as possible across the UK, with more than 7.4 million people given their first dose so far.”
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Paul Stoffels, chief scientific officer at Johnson & Johnson, said: “The potential to significantly reduce the burden of severe disease, by providing an effective and well-tolerated vaccine with just one immunisation, is a critical component of the global public health response.
“A one-shot vaccine is considered by the World Health Organisation to be the best option in pandemic settings, enhancing access, distribution and compliance.
“Eighty-five percent efficacy in preventing severe Covid-19 disease and prevention of Covid-19-related medical interventions will potentially protect hundreds of millions of people from serious and fatal outcomes of Covid-19.
“It also offers the hope of helping ease the huge burden placed on healthcare systems and communities.”
Meanwhile, a vaccine from Novavax has been shown to be 89 percent effective in preventing Covid-19.
Britain has secured 60 million doses of the jab which is being manufactured in Teesside.
In a video posted on Twitter, Mr Hancock said the recent news on the Novavax and Janssen vaccines showed the UK’s “approach of buying abroad and making here at home is paying off”.
He said: “I want to say a huge thank you to everybody involved who has helped get the UK in this pole position to protect our population and to make sure we get out of this pandemic.”
It comes as the European Union is embroiled in an extraordinary row with pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, which worked with Oxford University of its vaccine, over supply shortage issues.
The bloc is under pressure over its slow rollout of coronavirus jabs.