US pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson (J&J) said Monday it would start delivering its single-shot Covid-19 vaccine to Europe on April 19, giving the continent a boost as it struggles to speed up its vaccination drive.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) approved the J&J jab in mid-March, following approval of vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca.
Unlike the previously registered vaccines, it takes only one dose of the J&J vaccine to develop immunity against Covid-19. Furthermore, this vaccine is easier to store.
The 27-nation EU has signed a firm order for 200 million J&J doses and an option for 200 million more.
The EMA gave the green light after saying clinical trials involving volunteers in the United States, South Africa and South American countries found the J&J jab was 67 percent effective at preventing people from getting Covid-19.
Several European countries have enacted new restrictions to curb a surge of infections, as vaccination campaigns have been slower than in other countries such as the United States or Britain.
Latvia has ordered 841,414 doses of the J&J vaccine, also known as the Janssen vaccine. The producer is expected to deliver these vaccine doses from April until the end of this year.