Sydney, Australia, Jul 7 (EFE).- New Zealand approved the Covid-19 vaccine developed by pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson (J&J) as an alternative in the country’s immunization plan, which is currently using Pfizer’s double dose jab, official sources said Wednesday.
New Zealand’s pharmaceutical regulatory body MEDSAFE, issued a provisional authorization of nine months for the use of the Janssen vaccine in New Zealand, which agreed to purchase 2 million doses of the J&J jab in 2020.
New Zealand Health Minister Chris Hipkins said having the Janssen vaccine as an alternative gives the country the flexibility it needs, especially in “places that are difficult to access or in emergencies or for those who cannot have the Pfizer vaccine.”
The minister said he anticipates the decision of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s Cabinet regarding the use of the J&J vaccine will be issued in August, according to a statement from her office.
New Zealand began its immunization campaign on Feb. 20 with the use of Pfizer doses for workers at border posts and quarantine centers, followed by those in the health sector and jobs at risk of contagion, as well as for vulnerable people.
To date, the authorities have administered more than 1.2 million doses against Covid-19, including 500,000 with both jabs, and, as of Jul. 28, they will do so with the bulk of their almost 5 million inhabitants, according to the age-segmented program that must conclude before the end of the year.
New Zealand, whose management of the pandemic has been considered among the best in the world, has recorded 2,407 confirmed cases of Covid-19, and 26 deaths. EFE