As part of measures aimed at protecting Nigerians against coronavirus, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has approved Janssen (Johnson and Johnson) COVID-19 vaccine for conditional emergency use for eligible citizens.
It explained that the approval followed a thorough evaluation by the agency’s vaccine committee which held that the data on the vaccine were robust and met criteria for efficacy, safety, and quality.
NAFDAC Director-General, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, said that following the study, the agency’s committee also found out that the vaccine’s known and potential benefits outweigh its known and potential risks.
Through a statement made available for newsmen in Abuja on Tuesday, Adeyeye noted that Janssen’s COVID-19 vaccine was the third vaccine recommended in Nigeria for preventing COVID-19.
According to her, in line with the NAFDAC’s Pharmacovigilance and safety monitoring plan for COVID-19 vaccines, Janssen’s COVID-19 vaccine will be closely monitored and subject to several activities that apply specifically to COVID-19 vaccines.
“The Janssen COVID-19 vaccine is administered as a single dose. Results from a clinical trial involving people in the United States, South Africa, and Latin American countries found that Janssen’s COVID-19 Vaccine was effective at preventing COVID-19 in people from 18 years of age.
“The Phase III clinical trial involved over 44,000 people. Half received a single dose of the vaccine and half were given placebo (a dummy injection). People did not know if they had been given Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine or placebo.
“The trial found a 67 percent reduction in the number of symptomatic COVID-19 cases after 2 weeks in people who received Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine. The most commonly reported side effects were pain at the injection site, headache, fatigue, muscle aches, and nausea. Most of these side effects were mild to moderate in severity and lasted 1-2 days.”
On safety of the vaccine, the NAFDAC boss added: “Manufacturers are required to provide monthly safety reports in addition to the regular updates generated by NAFDAC activities. Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine works by preparing the body to defend itself against COVID-19.
“Unopened vaccine vials can be stored and/or transported frozen at -25°C to – 15°C for up to 24 months and 3 months when stored at 2 to 8°C.
“The Ministry of Health and National Primary Health Care Development Agency will announce when the vaccine becomes available for use in Nigeria.”