OTTAWA — Health Canada has announced the authorization of the first one-shot COVID-19 vaccine from Johnson & Johnson, making it the fourth vaccine that can be administered to Canadians.
“After a thorough, independent review of the evidence, the Department has determined that the vaccine meets Canada’s stringent safety, efficacy and quality requirements,” Health Canada said in a statement announcing the decision on Friday.
Canada’s federal health agency has been assessing the Johnson & Johnson shot since Nov. 30, and like the AstraZeneca vaccine given the green light last Friday, it is expected to be logistically easier to administer as it can be shipped and stored in fridges rather than freezers.
The federal government has secured access to up to 38 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, with a deal in place for at least 10 million doses and the option to purchase 28 million more.
During a briefing on Canada’s vaccine rollout on Thursday, director general for vaccines at Public Services and Procurement Canada Joelle Paquette told reporters that the 10 million doses are expected by the end of September.
It’s unclear how quickly the initial delivery of these doses could arrive in Canada, but with the addition of this vaccine to Canada’s COVID-19 inoculations arsenal it’s likely this country’s overall immunization timeline can be accelerated.
Regulatory approval deeming the Johnson & Johnson shot safe and effective for use in Canada comes on the heels of the United States approving the vaccine candidate from pharmaceutical company Jannsen last weekend.
On Thursday, chief medical adviser at Health Canada Dr. Supriya Sharma said the review of this shot was nearly complete. It’s expected she and other health officials will be speaking more about the authorization of this shot at a technical briefing at 10 a.m. ET.