J&J Covid Shots: Govt okays its emergency use
The Directorate General of Drug Administration (DGDA) has issued emergency use authorisation (EUA) to Johnson & Johnson's Covid-19 vaccine "Janssen" in the country.
It is the first single-dose Covid-19 vaccine approved for emergency use in the country which can be stored at a temperature of 2-8 degree Celsius.
The Line Director (MNC&H) of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) applied for approval as the local distributor of the vaccine, according to a press release issued by the DGDA yesterday.
With this, the government has opened another option to its desperate efforts to get Covid-19 vaccines from different sources -- with a view to vaccinating more than 12 crores of total population.
"We had known, this vaccine [Johnson & Johnson] may be available soon. So we have just made a progress by authorising it. We are actively planning to collect this vaccine once we get it," a DGHS high up linked to the government's Covid-19 vaccine collection activities told The Daily Star seeking anonymity.
Asked when the vaccine may be available in the country, the official, however, said, "The timeline cannot be said right now. Discussion with the respective producer is in progress."
The EUA was issued as per the recommendation of the committee for the evaluation of drug, investigational drug, vaccine, and medical device in case of a public health emergency, said the press release signed by Maj Gen Mahbubur Rahman, director general of DGDA.
Earlier, the DGDA approved five double-dose Covid-19 vaccines for emergency use in Bangladesh.
The other approved vaccines are Covishield produced by Serum Institute of India, Sputnik V produced by Generium Joint Stock Company of Russia, Sinopharm produced by Beijing Institute of Biological Products Co. Ltd of China, Pfizer vaccine manufactured by Pfizer Manufacturing Belgium NV, and Coronavac produced by Sinovac Life Sciences Ltd of China.
The Janssen vaccine is indicated for active immunization to prevent Covid-19 caused by SARS-CoV-2, in individuals 18 years of age and older.
Earlier, the World Health Organization, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the Food and Drug Administration of the United States of America and Health Canada also approved this vaccine for emergency use.
Due to the halt in vaccine supply from the Serum Institute of India, the countrywide first dose Covid-19 vaccine inoculation was halted from April 26, which started on February 7 with a target of vaccinating all citizens aged 18 and above in phases.
But the authorities halted administering the first dose of vaccine on April 26 due to the shortage of jabs. More than a week later, the administration of the second dose was also suspended at all the centres across the country.
The inoculation campaign stumbled after Serum Institute of India failed to provide the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine amid a surge in virus deaths and cases in that country.
As per an agreement, Bangladesh was supposed to receive three crore shots of the vaccine from Serum in six months.
Serum delivered 50 lakh doses in the first consignment in January, but shipped only 20 lakh shots the following month. The country has not received any shipment from the company since then.
Now the authorities said the vaccination campaign will be resumed from Saturday -- with the vaccines from Sinopharm from the Chinese government and the Pfizer from the Covax arrangement.