Decision on Johnson & Johnson vaccine coming in ‘next few days’: Health Canada

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Friday, Mar 5th, 2021

Health Canada says a decision on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be announced in the “next few days.”

The word came Thursday from Dr. Marc Berthiaume, director of the regulator’s bureau of medical sciences.

Once approved, the J&J product would become the fourth vaccine available for use in Canada. It was approved last weekend in the United States.

Coupled with a new recommendation Thursday that provinces delay second doses of the other vaccines up to four months, Canada is likely to be able to offer one dose of vaccine to every adult before Canada Day.

On Tuesday, a Biden administration official confirmed that drugmaker Merck & Co. will help produce rival Johnson & Johnson’s newly approved coronavirus vaccine in an effort to expand supply more quickly.

Health Canada officials say they are working with the company and a million doses of the J&J vaccine are expected in Canada by September, with deliveries beginning in the second quarter of the year.

The J&J vaccine has caused some concerns for Catholics after the Archdiocese of New Orleans released a statement on February 26, saying it is “morally compromised” because it “uses the abortion-derived cell line in development and production of the vaccine…”

The Vatican issued its own guidance in December, saying that when no other “ethically irreproachable” options are available, it is “morally acceptable” to use COVID-19 vaccines developed from cell lines derived from aborted fetuses.

Johnson & Johnson’s pharmaceutical company, Janssen Canada, responded saying: “There is no fetal tissue in our Janssen COVID-19 vaccine candidate. Our COVID-19 vaccine is an inactivated/non-infective adenovirus vector (similar to a cold virus), which codes for the coronavirus “spike” (S) protein.

With files from Michael Talbot

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