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European Medicines Agency’s decision on J&J vaccine is expected today

DUBLIN: The COVID-19 single-dose vaccine, developed by Johnson & Johnson, is likely to be approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) today.

If approved, Ireland is expected to receive the first delivery of Johnson & Johnson Jab in April. This was mentioned by Tanaiste Leo Varadkar at the Fine Gael parliamentary party meeting.

Coming up is a game changer

The vaccine was first approved by the US on February 27 as a game changer. Varadakar confirmed that the European approval for this single shot job will be received on Thursday.

The Tanaiste said that COVID-19 has almost gone from nursing homes and that there were also very good results for frontline workers as well, due to vaccination. However, Varadkar said that progress in suppressing the virus has been slow, but the number of cases has decreased.

He noted that the number of COVID-19 patients seeking treatment in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) was less than 100.

Mr. Varadkar also agreed with the response of Health Minister Stephen Donnelly that the decline in the supply of AstraZeneca vaccine to Ireland was “very frustrating”.

Nothing under our control

The Tanaiste explained at the meeting that the authorisation, manufacturing and supply of COVID-19 vaccines is not under the control of the government. He said each country would still need its own vaccines. The first dose is given to only 30% of the UK population. The remaining 70% need to start second round of vaccinations. Varadkar also expressed optimism that the vaccine supply would improve.

No relaxation in COVID restrictions

No decision will be made on easing the existing COVID-19 restrictions until April 5th. A hasty re-opening would not help, as it would set back the progress that the country has made so far. The Tanaiste said the government was focused on preventing the closure of schools and childcare centres once again. 

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