Canada clears J&J coronavirus vaccine

Canada has approved COVID vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson.
Canada has approved COVID vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson.

Canada is getting a fourth vaccine to prevent COVID-19 as the country's health regulator clears a Johnson & Johnson shot that works with just one dose instead of two.

Health experts are eager for a one-and-done option to help speed vaccination. Canada has also approved vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca and Health Canada is the first major regulator to approve four different vaccines, said Dr Supriya Sharma, Health Canada's chief medical adviser.

Like many countries, Canada does not have domestic production and has struggled with an immediate shortage of vaccines. The US so far is not allowing locally made vaccines to be exported, so Canada has been forced to get vaccines from Europe and Asia.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada has an agreement with Johnson & Johnson for 10 million doses before September.

But Trudeau announced Pfizer would deliver an additional 1.5 million doses to Canada in March and another one million doses ahead of schedule in both April and May.

The US approved Johnson and Johnson last month. The US Food and Drug Administration said J&J's vaccine offers strong protection against what matters most: serious illness, hospitalisations and death.

One dose was 85 per cent protective against the most severe COVID-19 illness in a massive study that spanned three continents - protection that remained strong even in countries such as South Africa, where the variants of most concern are spreading.

J&J also is seeking authorisation for emergency use of its vaccine in Europe and from the World Health Organisation. Last month, Bahrain became the first country to clear its use.

Australian Associated Press