US pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson may submit an official application for approval of its Covid-19 vaccine to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) in February, according to European Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides.
Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine would be the fourth, after that of Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna (which are both already being administered) and AstraZeneca/Oxford (for which an application was submitted on Monday) that could be approved.
The vaccine, “Ad26.COV2.S”, is administered in a single dose, and has been undergoing a rolling review by the EMA since the beginning of December.
The European Commission entered into an advance purchase agreement with the company for 200 million doses of its vaccine, with a further 200 million doses as an option.
This means that the number of vaccines effectively available in Europe could increase rapidly. However, after talks with EU health ministers, Kyriakides stressed that it was “not the vaccines” that saved lives, but “vaccinations.”
“This is a new sign of hope in the fight against the coronavirus,” commented German MEP Peter Liese. “If all goes well, we will already have a fourth effective vaccine in a few weeks.”
“This way, vaccinations will be able to take place even faster than we expected. Possibly a lot of people will be able to be vaccinated already in the first half of the year,” he added.