Last reviewed 1 June 2021

The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has approved a single-dose vaccine made by Janssen, and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said it is now authorised for use in the UK to protect against Covid-19.

Developed by Johnson & Johnson's pharmaceutical arm, Janssen, this fourth vaccine to be used in the UK uses the same technology as the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab and is likely to be more suitable for older adults than younger people.

In trials, the vaccine was 85% effective in stopping severe illness from Covid-19 and has met expected safety standards. It has not yet been tested against the variant first detected in India.

Data from the vaccine’s phase three trial demonstrated a 67% reduction in symptomatic Covid-19 disease compared with those who received a placebo from 14 days after vaccination, Janssen said.

The single-dose vaccine has already been authorised by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the US and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Around 20 million doses have now been ordered for the UK and will arrive later this year. Originally, the UK ordered 30 million doses but reduced the order after the vaccination programme in the UK picked up pace.

The Belgian-made vaccine can be given to people aged 18 and over and is likely to be used as a booster jab for care home residents ahead of winter because it can be easily stored and transported at fridge temperatures.

The MHRA said pregnant or breast-feeding women should decide whether to have the Janssen option in consultation with a healthcare professional after considering the benefits and risks.

The UK's Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) will issue advice on who should receive the vaccine in due course.