Health-care worker Jenne Saunders prepares a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz)

Health-care worker Jenne Saunders prepares a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz)

WHO grants emergency use of J&J vaccine to assist in global vaccine efforts

U.N. said ‘ample data from large clinical trials’ shows the vaccine is effective in adult populations

The World Health Organization granted an emergency use listing for the coronavirus vaccine made by Johnson & Johnson, meaning the one-dose shot can be used as part of the international COVAX effort to distribute vaccines globally, including to developing countries with no supplies.

In a statement on Friday, the U.N. health agency said “the ample data from large clinical trials” shows the J&J vaccine is effective in adult populations. The emergency use listing comes a day after the European Medicines Agency recommended the shot be given the green light across the 27-country European Union. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted the J&J vaccine an emergency authorization last month.

A massive study that spanned three continents found the J&J vaccine was 85 per cent effective in protecting against severe illness, hospitalization and death. That protection remained strong even in countries such as South Africa with variants.

The U.N.-backed COVAX effort previously announced it had an initial agreement with J&J to provide 500 million doses, but it’s not legally binding.

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