The Janssen COVID-19 vaccine received conditional marketing authorisation in Iceland yesterday afternoon. Europe’s Medicine’s Agency recommended a conditional marketing authorisation earlier in the day and the European Commission confirmed it. This is the fourth COVID-19 vaccine to be authorised in Iceland and the rest of Europe. It differs from other vaccines as only one dose is needed, as opposed to the two required for other vaccines.
The vaccine is intended for individuals 18 years or older and underwent clinical trials in the US, South Africa, and South America, with over 44,000 participants. The results indicate that the vaccine provides 67% protection against the virus. The most common side effects were mild or medium, such as soreness at the point of injection, headache, fatigue, muscle pain, and nausea, and passed in a few days. The vaccine’s safety and efficacy will continue to be monitored in further research by both the pharmaceutical company and Europe’s Medicines Agency.
Professor of immunology with the University of Iceland Ingileif Jónsdóttir told RÚV that research showed that the Janssen vaccine also provides protection against the South African strain of the virus as well as the Brazilian and that the efficacy was above 63% in all age groups and sexes, with people of different backgrounds as well as those with underlying diseases. She stated that the vaccine’s efficacy was good after one injection but further studies were ongoing to determine if a second injection would increase the efficacy significantly, as is the case for the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Icelandic healthcare authorities have ordered 235,000 doses of the Janssen vaccine but a distribution schedule has not yet been released.