Fri. Nov 18th, 2022

The European Medicines Agency is expected to clear the way for the European Commission to approve the Covid-19 vaccine made by Janssen, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, later today. 
It will be the fourth vaccine against the coronavirus approved for use in Europe.
The Government is expecting that Ireland will receive 600,000 doses of this new vaccine during the second half of the year.
The jab requires just one single shot and is therefore quicker and easier to administer than the vaccines already in use.
It is also easier to transport as it does not have to be frozen and is effective for all age groups.
The US Food and Drug Administration approved it 12 days ago, with the European Medicines Agency expected to follow suit later today.
They have been assessing data and laboratory studies about how well the vaccine works and how safe it is for months.
If, as expected, the EMA concludes that the benefits of the new vaccine outweigh the risks it will recommend Conditional Marketing Authorisation, clearing the way for the European Commission to authorise its use, possibly as soon as tomorrow.
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Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has said other countries are not interested in giving away some of their own vaccine supply while vaccinating their own people.
He rejected the idea that Ireland should use vaccines that have not been approved by the European Medicines Agency.
Speaking in the Dáil, Mr Donnelly also criticised AstraZeneca, saying it is “repeatedly changing its delivery schedules, often at the last minute, and revising down the volumes that it had agreed to deliver”.
He said it was unfair for people to accuse the Health Service Executive of missing vaccine targets. 
“This is not true, AstraZeneca is missing its targets”, he said.
Earlier, Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney said that despite setbacks, the roll-out of the vaccine here is moving in the right direction.
Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, he said he understands peoples’ frustration with the pace of the roll-out, but there are not “mountains of spare vaccines” available. 
“People are saying why don’t you use your relationship with the British government to get spare vaccines from the UK or the US. The truth is there isn’t spare vaccines right now. There may be later on in the summer, but at that point in time I think we will have sufficient amount of vaccines from the pre-purchasing system that the EU has set up.”
He said the planned roll-out in Ireland means a million vaccines can be expected here in April and in May that figure will be 1.25 million and in June 1.6 million. 
He also said that by the end of June there could be 4.5 to 5 million vaccines administered in Ireland, meaning the vast majority of the adult population would be vaccinated. 
“By early autumn I believe we will have a lot of spare vaccines,” he added. 
EU takes ‘bumpy’ vaccine supply into account
Earlier this week, the head of the EU’s supply task force said it had taken “bumpy” Covid-19 vaccine production into account in its plan to ramp up deliveries in coming months.
Thierry Breton reaffirmed the commission’s goal of greatly increasing deliveries in the coming three months, after a disappointing vaccination rollout started in January that faltered because of a lack of doses.
“I am confident that we will make it. But it’s difficult. It’s bumpy. And this is why we have this task force,” he said.
Mr Breton said the bloc received only 14 million doses in January, 28 million in February and he expected more than 55 million doses in March.
That was well below the commission’s original projections, because of shortfalls by all three vaccine makers, particularly AstraZeneca.
But, he said, the bloc was now on target to receive 100 million doses in each of the next three months, and possible further hiccups have been “integrated” into the planning.
“I forced companies to have many, many (contingency) actions in case something could go wrong,” Mr Breton said.
The European Union has pre-purchased 2.6 billion doses of various vaccines for this year and next – more than enough for the entire bloc, whose population is 450 million. 
The excess doses are to be given to poorer countries close to the EU, and in Africa.
Separately, Danish health authorities said they were temporarily suspending the use of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine as a precaution after some patients developed blood clots since receiving the jab.
Additional reporting Tommy Meskill, AFP