Mexico Approves Johnson & Johnson VaccineBy Rodrigo Brugada | Tue, 06/01/2021 - 17:03
Until recently, Mexico had six approved COVID-19 vaccines. Now, the country’s regulatory agency COFEPRIS has approved another vaccine for emergency use: Johnson & Johnson’s. The vaccine requires a single dose and provides 67-87 percent protection against severe disease. The vaccine may now be applied as part of Mexico’s vaccination campaign.
Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine, developed by its pharmaceutical division Janssen, consists of an adenovirus vector, a type of virus that is one of the usual culprits behind the common cold. This technology uses an inactivated virus that contains the SARS-CoV-2 protein S gene inside it. The viral vector enter human cells and provides it with instructions to build the coronavirus S protein so that the immune system may recognize it.
This vaccine’s development and administration were halted on several occasions, once during its phase three trials in October 2020 and once again in April after six cases of clotting disorders were reported. Earlier in May, Denmark announced it would no longer use the vaccine. It should be noted that these adverse effects have been rare and the vaccine has met the quality, safety and efficacy standards to receive the approval from multiple authorities, including the FDA, COFEPRIS and the European Medicines Agency.
The vaccine’s storage and distribution requirements enable delivery to remote areas. Johnson & Johnson has stated that the vaccine can remain stable for two years at -25° to -15°C and a maximum of three months under routine refrigeration temperatures of 2° to 8°C. This allows for shipments that use the same cold chain technologies for other medicines and vaccines. Unlike most vaccines that are currently available, the Janssen injection is based on a single dose schedule. It has also been demonstrated to provide similar rates of protection for different SARS-CoV-2 variants.
During the official press conference announcing its approval, Deputy Minister of Health Hugo Lopez-Gatell stated that Mexico has no current agreements or contracts to buy doses of the Janssen vaccine. Nonetheless, this approval offers the opportunity for the US to send this vaccine to Mexico as part of its donation efforts. This vaccine was approved at the same time that Mexico started vaccinating people aged 40-49. As such, it may speed up vaccination efforts.
Having single-dose vaccines can be extremely helpful in assuring a wider portion of the population develops immunity. By extension, this vaccine will probably be beneficial in swiftly achieving Mexico’s herd immunity. One more critical aspect of this approval is that it may also ramp up Mexico’s vaccine diplomacy efforts.