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FEATURE

EU countries to receive Johnson & Johnson vaccines from mid-April

Johnson & Johnson said on Monday it would start delivering its single-shot Covid vaccine to Europe on April 19th, giving the continent a boost as it struggles to speed up its vaccination drive.

EU countries to receive Johnson & Johnson vaccines from mid-April
(Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP)

The pharmaceutical giant’s jab was approved by European Union regulators in mid-March, following approval of vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca.

The 27-nation EU has signed a firm order for 200 million J&J doses and an option for 200 million more.

As well as being the first that requires just a single injection rather than two, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is easier to store.

The EMA gave the green light after saying clinical trials involving volunteers in the United States, South Africa and South American countries found the J&J jab was 67 percent effective in preventing moderate-to-severe Covid globally.

The EMA’s report said: “The trial found a 67% reduction in the number of symptomatic COVID-19 cases after 2 weeks in people who received COVID-19 Vaccine Janssen (116 cases out of 19,630 people) compared with people given placebo (348 of 19,691 people). This means that the vaccine had a 67% efficacy.”

The jab was the fourth to be endorsed for use in the EU after vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech , AstraZeneca-Oxford University and Moderna, and is recommended for those over 18 years of age, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) said.

“With this latest positive opinion, authorities across the European Union will have another option to combat the pandemic and protect the lives and health of their citizens. This is the first vaccine that can be used as a single dose,” said Emer Cooke, EMA’s Executive Director after the jab was approved.

The study said the side effects from the COVID-19 Janssen vaccine were usually mild or moderate and cleared within a couple of days after vaccination, the EMA said.

Several European countries have enacted new restrictions to curb a surge of infections, as vaccination campaigns have been slower than in other countries such as the United States or Britain.

Member comments

    1. Boggy apparently you can not choose! You have to take what you get offered. So fingers crossed it is JJ. I refuse unless I get JJ, and I think many ‘younger unlikely to die from covid’ people will. I am lucky as I will not get offered AZ, if they have not changed their mind before it’s my age group. I have no intention to accept rmna vaccines, so they better be happy I will accept JJ and otherwhise I won’t bother getting vaccinated at all. Let see what happens, let see or there are dodgy side effects after JJ, time will tell.

  1. This is great! Thanks for the additional source. I think it’s your last sentence that keeps being overlooked in reports on effectiveness. While the vaccine is not a 100% guarantee that you won’t catch COVID (though it significantly helps), it was 100% effective in keeping you from dying. Getting sick is not the end of the world if the sickness doesn’t go on to kill people. Maybe it’s just me, but I wouldn’t mind seeing this kill fewer people and have life open up a little more.

    1. (My previous comment was meant to be in response to the comment and source provided by Ty, but the website doesn’t group them that way… Sorry for the confusion)

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TRAVEL

Could Oslo-Copenhagen overnight train be set for return?

A direct overnight rail service between the Norwegian and Danish capitals has not operated since 2001, but authorities in Oslo are considering its return.

Norway’s transport minister Knut Arild Hareide has asked the country’s railway authority Jernbanedirektoratet to investigate the options for opening a night rail connection between Oslo and Copenhagen.

An answer is expected by November 1st, after which the Norwegian government will decide whether to go forward with the proposal to directly link the two Nordic capitals by rail.

Jernbanedirektoratet is expected to assess a timeline for introducing the service along with costs, market and potential conflicts with other commercial services covering the route.

“I hope we’ll secure a deal. Cross-border trains are exciting, including taking a train to Malmö, Copenhagen and onwards to Europe,” Hareide told Norwegian broadcaster NRK.

The minister said he envisaged either a state-funded project or a competition awarding a contract for the route’s operation to the best bidder.

A future Oslo-Copenhagen night train rests on the forthcoming Jernbanedirektoratet report and its chances of becoming a reality are therefore unclear. But the Norwegian rail authority earlier this year published a separate report on ways in which passenger train service options from Norway to Denmark via Sweden can be improved.

“We see an increasing interest in travelling out of Norway by train,” Jernbanedirektoratet project manager  Hanne Juul said in a statement when the report was published in January.

“A customer study confirmed this impression and we therefore wish to make it simpler to take the train to destinations abroad,” Juul added.

Participants in the study said that lower prices, fewer connections and better information were among the factors that would encourage them to choose the train for a journey abroad.

Norway’s rail authority also concluded that better international cooperation would optimise cross-border rail journeys, for example by making journey and departure times fit together more efficiently.

The Femahrn connection between Denmark and Germany, currently under construction, was cited as a factor which could also boost the potential for an overland rail connection from Norway to mainland Europe.

Night trains connected Oslo to Europe via Copenhagen with several departures daily as recently as the late 1990s, but the last such night train between the two cities ran in 2001 amid dwindling demand.

That trend has begun to reverse in recent years due in part to an increasing desire among travellers to select a greener option for their journey than flying.

Earlier this summer, a new overnight train from Stockholm to Berlin began operating. That service can be boarded by Danish passengers at Høje Taastrup near Copenhagen.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about the new night train from Copenhagen to Germany

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