Amid ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Johnson & Johnson has said that the first batches of its COVID-19 vaccine could be available as soon as in January. The first batches of its shots are expected to be available for emergency use by starting 2021, Ruxandra Draghia-Akli, the company's head of public health research and development, said in a presentation at the World Health Summit.
The company also said last Friday that it plans to restart a large late-stage trial of the vaccine that had been paused due to safety concerns. The 60,000-person study is expected to have initial results by the end of 2020.
The other firm which would be resuming trials that had been paused due to safety concerns is AstraZeneca. The coronavirus vaccine candidate, being jointly developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, has induced a strong immune response in older age groups.
The inoculation produced protective antibodies and T-cells in elderly people, Financial Times reported citing unidentified sources. The finding assumes importance as people in older age groups are seen at the highest risk of contracting COVID-19.
Meanwhile, UNICEF had recently said it will stockpile 520 million syringes in its warehouses, as part of a larger plan of one billion hypodermic needles by 2021, to guarantee initial supply and help ensure that syringes are available in countries before the COVID-19 vaccines arrives. "As the world awaits a COVID-19 vaccine, UNICEF has begun laying the groundwork for the rapid, safe and efficient delivery of the eventual vaccine by purchasing and pre-positioning syringes and other necessary equipment," the UN agency had said.