News, Culture & Society

EU faces more Covid vaccine delays amid Johnson & Johnson supply shortage

European drug chiefs today approved Johnson & Johnson’s Covid vaccine — but the continent may face delivery delays because of a supply shortage at the company.

Regulators at the European Medicines Agency have green-lighted the jab – the first to only require a single dose – for use on over-18s in the general public. It is now set to be officially approved by the European Commission.

But the bloc might not get any supplies until the summer because the company is struggling to get enough of the ingredients it needs.

The disruption marks the second time Europe has suffered at the hands of a vaccine manufacturer, after a row erupted with AstraZeneca when the company failed to meet its supply commitments when there were manufacturing issues in Belgium.

Johnson & Johnson has now said it will struggle to deliver the 55million doses it had promised by the end of June, Reuters reports. In a statement the firm said it was still committed to providing all of the 200million doses it had pledged for the year.

The UK has ordered 30million doses of J&J’s vaccine – enough to cover half of the population – but is not expecting any deliveries until the second half of 2021.

The Janssen vaccine is so far the only successful one to rely on a single dose, making it attractive to health services that will only need to do half as many appointments

The EU has extended laws that allow it to block vaccines being exported from member states to foreign countries until at least June to boost its vaccine drive, which is well behind the UK

The EU has extended laws that allow it to block vaccines being exported from member states to foreign countries until at least June to boost its vaccine drive, which is well behind the UK

The vaccine has already been approved in the US, Canada and Bahrain, and looks set to get used in South Africa and the UK. 

It is so far the only successful one to rely on a single dose, making it attractive to health services that will only need to do half as many appointments.

Clinical trials found it prevents up to 100 per cent of deaths caused by Covid, and stops 85 per cent of cases of severe disease.

An unnamed EU official told Reuters Johnson & Johnson had said the company was not likely to meet its target of getting 55million doses delivered by the summer. 

Europe had been promised 200million doses this year, with a quarter of them coming in the next three months, but this now may not happen.  

EU EXTENDS VACCINE EXPORT RULES AMID SUPPLY SHAMBLES 

The European Union has extended powers that allow it to block exports of coronavirus vaccines until at least June as its jab drive fails to gather pace.  

The laws were rushed into force in January amid an almighty row between the EU and AstraZeneca, which saw Eurocrats accuse the drug-maker of sending doses meant for the continent to Britain.

Since then the rules have been used just once, to block a shipment of 250,000 AstraZeneca vaccines going from Italy to Australia, but EU vaccine tsar Thierry Breton has hailed their effectiveness as a deterrent. 

As a result the EU has been forced to deny allegations of ‘vaccine nationalism’, with Council President Charles Michel attempting to flip the script and yesterday accusing the UK of putting ‘an outright ban’ on exports instead.

The remark sparked fury in London as Boris Johnson denied that a single dose had been blocked, after which an EU spokesman admitted that no such ban existed.

Mr Michel refused to apologise, however, instead qualifying his initial statement to say instead that there are ‘different ways of imposing bans or restrictions’. 

The EU is presiding over one of the world’s slowest vaccination campaigns, and has given at least one dose to just seven per cent of its population so far.

Meanwhile the UK has given at least one dose to 33 per cent of the population.

Britain is also injecting people much faster, at a rate of 0.52 per hundred per day, almost double the European average of 0.25 per hundred.

EU red tape, supply bottlenecks and scaremongering around AstraZeneca’s vaccine have all been blamed as thee cause.

In the latest development, Austria, Denmark, Estonia, Lithuania, Luxembourg and Latvia all suspended use of the AstraZeneca vaccine on Thursday to examine a possible link to blood clots after and Austrian woman died.

That is despite Europe’s medical regulator saying that there is no evidence of a link between the vaccine and blood clots.

The US is furthest ahead with the Janssen vaccine and approved it for public use on February 27.

It is now being rolled out across the country as a third vaccine alongside the mainstays made by Pfizer and Moderna.

J&J did not comment on the supply issue but said: ‘Aligned with our agreement, we expect to begin supplying our commitment of 200million doses to the European Union in the second quarter of 2021.’

The disruption comes after a blazing row broke out between Europe and AstraZeneca earlier this year.

AstraZeneca, which makes Oxford University’s vaccine, said it would have to scale back deliveries of the jab because factory yields weren’t as high as expected to begin with, so it was running short.

The EU responded in an explosive manner and has since become extremely protective of its supplies and imports and exports of vaccines. 

The bloc today extended powers that allow it to block exports of coronavirus vaccines until at least June as its jab drive continues to fail to gather pace.  

The laws were rushed into force in January amid an almighty row between the EU and AstraZeneca, which saw Eurocrats accuse the drug-maker of sending doses meant for the continent to Britain.

Since then the rules have been used just once, to block a shipment of 250,000 AstraZeneca vaccines going from Italy to Australia, but EU vaccine tsar Thierry Breton has hailed their effectiveness as a deterrent. 

As a result the EU has been forced to deny allegations of ‘vaccine nationalism’, with Council President Charles Michel attempting to flip the script and yesterday accusing the UK of putting ‘an outright ban’ on exports instead.

The remark sparked fury in London as Boris Johnson denied that a single dose had been blocked, after which an EU spokesman admitted that no such ban existed.

Mr Michel refused to apologise, however, instead qualifying his initial statement to say instead that there are ‘different ways of imposing bans or restrictions’. 

The EU’s charge d’affairs was summoned to the Foreign Office to ‘clarify’ the situation.

The EU is presiding over one of the world’s slowest vaccination campaigns, and has given at least one dose to just seven per cent of its population so far. 

Meanwhile the UK has given at least one dose to 33 per cent of the population.

Britain is also injecting people much faster, at a rate of 0.52 per hundred per day, almost double the European average of 0.25 per hundred.

EU red tape, supply bottlenecks and scaremongering around AstraZeneca’s vaccine have all been blamed as thee cause.

In the latest development, Austria, Denmark, Estonia, Lithuania, Luxembourg and Latvia all suspended use of the AstraZeneca vaccine on Thursday to examine a possible link to blood clots after and Austrian woman died.

That is despite Europe’s medical regulator saying that there is no evidence of a link between the vaccine and blood clots.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk