Johnson & Johnson’s “game-changer” vaccine is set to be approved in the US with the UK having 30 million of the jabs ordered.
The single-dose Covid vaccine, 85 per cent effective at preventing illness, could be authorised within days after regulators deemed it to be safe and effective.
The company has agreed to provide the US with 100 million doses by the end of June while the UK has secured a deal of 30 million doses which could cover half the population.
It could boost supply and simplify the effort to immunise the world following concerns distribution is progressing too slowly.
Unlike Pfizer and Oxford-AstraZeneca jabs, people do not need to return for a second dose to be protected against the virus.
But it is believed supplies of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will not reach the UK until July provided they are approved by MHRA regulators.
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Health Secretary Matt Hancock said back on January 29: “If this jab is approved this could significantly bolster our vaccination programme, especially as a single-dose vaccine.”
While the results are extremely promising, the vaccine is still yet to be approved.
An external committee of experts will meet on Friday to discuss whether the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) should authorise the vaccine.
Other benefits to the Johnson & Johnson jab could be that its a more cost-effective alternative to the Pfizer vaccine which must be stored in freezing cold temperatures.
In addition, it costs as little as £7 per dose which means it is about the same price as a double Oxford jab but cheaper than other vaccines.
Requiring just a single dose will also mean fewer vaccine appointments and medical staff as a result.
The FDA said the Johnson & Johnson jab is 85 per cent effective at preventing illness and 66 per cent protective overall against moderate cases.
Research suggests the jab not only prevents severe illness from Covid but also its spread.
Findings from the trial show an 88 per cent efficacy, with two asymptomatic cases in the vaccine group compared with 16 in the placebo group.
Meanwhile, new data suggests the jab has a 74 per cent efficacy rate against infections that carry no symptoms, according to the FDA.
A White House official said the administration anticipated distributing at least three million doses of the Johnson & Johnson jab next week, should it receive emergency authorisation from the FDA on Friday.
The company is aiming to deliver 20 million doses globally by late March.
This is consistent with an agreement to supply 100 million doses to the US before July 2021.