Covid-19 roundup: UK authorizes J&J vaccine; UNICEF buys 220 million doses of Russian vaccine
UK regulators on Friday authorized the J&J Covid-19 vaccine for adults aged 18 years and older, more than two months after the EU signed off on it and more than three months after the FDA’s EUA.
The single-dose shot is the fourth Covid-19 vaccine to be authorized in the UK. The move follows closer scrutiny of it by regulators due to rare but sometimes fatal blood clots and low levels of platelets, but the US and EU agencies, and now the UK’s MHRA, agreed that the benefits of the vaccine still outweigh the risks.
“Fatal outcome has been reported. These cases occurred within the first three weeks following vaccination, and mostly in women under 60 years of age,” the UK’s MHRA said in its summary of product characteristics.
The US has administered the J&J vaccine to more than 10 million people, with the latest data (as of May 7) showing 28 cases of the rare blood clots. Another 10 million doses have been distributed across the country. — Zachary Brennan
EMA extends Pfizer vaccine authorization to children aged 12 to 15
The EMA’s human medicines committee on Friday authorized the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine, known in the EU as Comirnaty, to children as young as 12.
The recommended use is the same as it is for those older than 16, EMA said at a press conference. It’s the first Covid-19 vaccine to get the green light for children in the EU.
FDA also previously expanded its emergency use authorization for the jab to the 12-15 age group, based on efficacy data from 190 adolescents which showed their immune response to the vaccine was at least as good as the response seen in older participants. — Zachary Brennan
Survey: Few who are eager to get a shot remain unvaccinated
A new survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation released Friday shows how the share of US adults who report receiving at least one dose of a Covid vaccine has continued to climb from 56% in April to 62% in May.
But the share of those who say they intend to get the vaccine as soon as possible fell to just 4%, “leaving a very small group that is ready to get vaccinated right away,” the foundation said.
Full FDA approval of one of the vaccines may help push people to get vaccinated, the survey found, with about one-third (32%) of unvaccinated adults saying an approval would make them more likely to get vaccinated. — Zachary Brennan
UNICEF buys 220 million doses of Russian vaccine
UNICEF has reached a deal with Russia to purchase 220 million doses of the Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine, the RDIF announced Thursday. Sputnik V is still awaiting emergency use listing from the WHO, after submitting an application in October 2020.
Sputnik V, which requires 2 jabs and is under rolling review at the European Medicines Agency, has been registered in more than 65 other countries, mostly in South America, the Middle East, Asia and Africa.
An interim analysis of a Phase III study, published in The Lancet in February, showed the vaccine’s efficacy was 91.6%. — Josh Sullivan
For a look at all Endpoints News coronavirus stories, check out our special news channel.