Janssen's vaccine arrives: a Spaniard at the helm and other 10 facts

Tomorrow the first shipment of Johnson & Johnson vaccine vials will arrive in Spain, produced by its pharmaceutical subsidiary Janssen and the first that is administered by means of a single injection.

The first doses

The Ministry of Health expects around 300,000 doses this April, which will reinforce vaccination in Europe by joining the options of Pfizer / BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca.

What is Janssen

Johnson & Johnson is a giant pharmaceutical and consumer goods group created in 1886 with a market capitalization of close to $ 430 billion. Its pharmaceutical business had a turnover of 45,572 million last year, being one of the main laboratories in the world together with Pfizer and the Swiss Roche and Novartis. The Janssen subsidiary is of Belgian origin, although it has belonged to the US group since the 1960s.

A Spaniard at the helm

The Spanish Joaquín Duato has been in charge of the pharmaceutical division since 2011, with the position of executive vice president of the group. For almost three years, he has been vice chairman of the executive committee of Johnson & Johnson, the number two of the firm chaired by Alex Gorsky.

Manufacturing

Janssen seeks to produce 1 billion of its single-dose option in 2021. In Europe, it manufactures the antigen in Leiden (the Netherlands) and finishes the product in a French plant of Sanofi, in another Italian of the supplier Catalent and, from June, it will in the center of the Spanish listed pharmaceutical Reig Jofre in Sant Joan Despí (Barcelona).

Problems

At the beginning of this month it was learned that due to human error, the Baltimore factory where this vaccine was produced for the US market had to paralyze and the delivery of 15 million planned doses was delayed. For this reason, for this week, the supply that should reach the vaccination points in that country will fall by 89%.

Efficiency and characteristics

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) endorsed the use of this candidate in March and the EU granted it provisional marketing authorization. In the US, it has been administered since the beginning of last month. In clinical studies with 44,000 people, this alternative has shown an average effectiveness of 67%. It is based on adenovirus and can be kept for up to three months between temperatures of two to eight degrees Celsius.

Adverse effects

The company notes in the vaccine insert that among the very common side effects (may affect more than one in ten people) are headaches, nausea, muscle aches, pain at the injection site and feeling very tired. . Common (up to one in 10 people) include redness at the puncture site, swelling where the injection is given, chills, joint pain, cough, and fever.

Contracts

The European Commission has agreed with the US giant to purchase 200 million doses, plus an additional 200 million. For Spain, 21 million doses correspond (and the same optional figure). Its estimated price could be 8.5 euros, according to specialized information, although the agreements of these manufacturers with Brussels are confidential.

Pfizer / BioNTech, AstraZeneca, Moderna and Janssen have committed with the EC to provide some 360 ​​million doses between April and June, a calculation that already takes into account that AstraZeneca has announced that it will not comply with what was agreed in its contract with Brussels and will deliver 70 million doses instead of 180.

The distribution to Spain

The Executive of Ursula Von der Leyen collects that the laboratory will distribute 55 million doses to the Twenty-seven in the second quarter of the year. By the proportional distribution according to the population, Spain has around 5.5 million injections in that period.

57% of the population at the end of June

The fact that the Janssen vaccine is a single dose facilitates and speeds up the vaccination process. 5.5 million injections will serve to immunize the same number of people in this way. Thanks to the increasing deliveries, according to an internal calculation of the European Union to which Efe has had access, Spain could have the doses to vaccinate more than 27 million people, 57.41% of the population, by the end of the month June, counting on all the pharmaceutical companies to comply with the stipulated deliveries.

Priority group

Due to the use of Pfizer and Moderna, messenger RNA alternatives, in people over 80 years of age, Health foresees that Janssen’s option will be prioritized in the age group between 70 and 79 years, which has been left behind from vaccination because for the The 60-69 age group is currently using the AstraZeneca option.

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