- Canada's drug regulator has approved Johnson & Johnson's Covid-19 vaccine, making it the fourth such shot to be given the green light.
- The single-dose shot, which has been authorized for adults in Canada, was 66% effective at preventing moderate and severe disease.
- The United States approved the vaccine on Feb 28.
Canada's drug regulator has approved Johnson & Johnson's Covid-19 vaccine, the fourth such shot to be given the green light, the government said on Friday, amid frustration over the slow start to the country's inoculation program.
The single-dose shot, which has been authorized for adults in Canada, was 66% effective at preventing moderate and severe disease, Supriya Sharma, a senior health ministry official, said at a briefing to announce the approval.
"Assessing all the data, we concluded there was strong evidence that showed the benefits of this vaccine outweigh the potential risks," Sharma said.
The Canadian government's announcement could ease some logistical challenges, since the J&J vaccine is administered in a single dose and can be stored in normal fridges while the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna shots must be kept in freezers.
Canada has pre-ordered 10 million doses of the J&J vaccine, with options to order up to 28 million more. In a statement, the Brunswick, New Jersey-based company said it planned to provide the 10 million doses by the end of September.
"With millions of doses already secured, we're one step closer to defeating this virus," Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Twitter.
Deliveries of Covid-19 vaccines to Canada have been slow even though it ordered more doses per capita than any other country. Canada is now lagging many other developed nations' vaccination campaigns, but Ottawa says deliveries should increase significantly in the second quarter.
Canada has recorded a total of 22,151 Covid-19 deaths and 878,391 cases during the pandemic. Around 3,000 new infections are being reported each day, well down from the 8,400 seen in January.
Sharma said Canada had approved a clinical trial for the J&J vaccine in children aged between 12 and 17.
So far, 4.2% of the Canadian population has received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, according to volunteer-run tracking site Covid-19 Tracker Canada. In the United States, more than 16% have received at least one dose.