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Decision to allow single-dose COVID-19 vaccine in Europe is likely to be made on March 11

DUBLIN: The decision to allow Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose COVID-19 vaccine in the European Union is likely to take place next week. The Amsterdam-based regulator said on Twitter that it expects the EMA’s Human Medicine Committee to make the decision on March 11 to give the vaccine to the 27 – nation European Union.

The European Commission had earlier said it was considering giving immediate approval to the COVID-19 J&J vaccine as a fast alternative. This position is expected to make a big difference in the approach to vaccine approval. Attempts are being made to expedite accreditation using procedures that the EU considered dangerous.

The long delay in approving vaccines has been widely criticized. Moreover, it has adversely affected vaccination throughout the European Union. It is in this context that the Commission is likely to ease the procedures for vaccine approval. A spokesman for the European Commission said in a statement that it was ready to look into the possibility of accelerating the approval of vaccines.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is currently unable to grant urgent approval, Urgent approvals are allowed nationally under EU law. But if something goes wrong with the vaccine, the entire responsibility lies with the respective countries.

The European Commission has recommended that national approvals for COVID-19 vaccines not be used, saying that speedy approvals could reduce regulators ability to test efficacy and safety. However, without listening to the Union, the Eastern European countries such as Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic approved the Russian and Chinese vaccines under national emergency procedures. The UK approved the COVID-19 vaccine using an emergency procedure.

Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden is reportedly planning to announce a plan for pharma giant Merck to build Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose COVID-19 vaccine to increase supply. Officials also confirmed a media report that the deal was designed to significantly increase the supply of the vaccine.

The J&J vaccine is the third vaccine to receive US regulatory approval. While Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna are two dose vaccines, Johnson’s is single dose.

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