• Matthew Mancini

EU: JNJ Vaccine Approved, AstraZeneca Vaccine Suspended, & Surge in COVID-19 Cases

The image above shows a digitalized COVID-19 cell behind the European Union flag (Source: CIDOB)

March 16th, 2021

By Matthew Mancini

The single-shot vaccine created by drug manufacturer Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) was approved in the European Union. The EU is trying to roll out the vaccine as soon as possible because coronavirus infections are steadily rising.

The vaccine is different from the other vaccines which require two shots spaced several weeks apart. The JNJ vaccine can also be stored in refrigerators instead of needing to be frozen like other vaccines.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Johnson & Johnson stated their data shows the vaccine has an 85% efficacy rate in preventing the disease.

The JNJ vaccine being administered to EU citizens is pivotal because the trading bloc is falling behind in the vaccination process.

In comparison, according to Google News, the UK has partially or fully vaccinated 39.2% of its population, the US 33.2% whereas the EU has an average of only 11.7%.

Those numbers are likely to lag more after the suspension of the AstraZeneca/University of Oxford shot in many EU countries. As of Tuesday, Germany, Spain, France, Italy, Ireland, Sweden, and Latvia all suspended the AstraZeneca vaccine following concerns as to whether the vaccine increases the risk of blood clots.

Many members of the European Commission, executive branch of the EU, are doubtful of the AstraZeneca vaccine’s effectiveness and cautious of the adverse effects. Their political opinion goes completely against the EU’s regulator which said last week that “the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine in preventing COVID-19, with its associated risk of hospitalization and death, outweigh the risks of side effects.”

Also, the World Health Organization, drug regulators, European Medicines Agency, and vaccine makers all claim there is no evidence to support a link between increased risk of developing blood clots and the vaccine.

Despite the JNJ vaccine being approved, analysts say the suspension of the AstraZeneca vaccine will be a devastating blow to the region, especially as the number of infections continue to rise. In Italy, infections rose 10% last week and 11 of its regions have gone under another shutdown.