MARCH 15, 2021

The World Health Organization (WHO) has listed the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine Ad26.COV2.S, developed by Janssen, for emergency use in all countries and for COVAX roll-out. 

“The vaccine from Janssen is the first to be listed by WHO as a single dose regimen, which should facilitate vaccination logistics in all countries,” the WHO noted. “The ample data from large clinical trials shared by the company also shows that the vaccine is effective in older populations.”

To expedite listing of the vaccine, WHO and a team of assessors from all regions adopted an “abbreviated assessment” based on outcomes of the European Medicines Agency review, and evaluation of quality, safety and efficacy data focused on low- and middle-income country needs. The WHO assessment also considered suitability requirements such as cold chain storage and risk management plans to be implemented in countries.

“While the vaccine needs to be stored at -20 degrees, which may prove challenging in some environments, it can be kept for three months at 2-8°C and it has a long shelf life of two years,” the WHO added. 

The WHO will convene its Strategic Advisory Group on Immunization Experts to formulate recommendations on use of the vaccine.Reference: World Health Organization