May 28, 2021 - World

U.K. authorizes Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine

Picture of a hand holding a vial of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine
Photo: Jonas Güttler/Picture Alliance via Getty Images

United Kingdom health regulators on Friday authorized the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for people 18 and older.

Why it matters: The J&J is the fourth vaccine to receive approval in the U.K., which has experienced one of the world's best vaccine rollouts. 58% of people in the U.K. have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 36% are fully vaccinated, according to Bloomberg's tracker.

  • Unlike the other shots that have been authorized — Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca and Moderna — the J&J vaccine only requires one dose.
  • U.K. health regulators said the vaccine was found to be 67% effective in preventing infection and 85% effective in preventing serious cases and hospitalizations, AP notes.

The big picture: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned on Thursday that a contagious coronavirus variant first identified in India is beginning to spread rapidly.

  • Public Health England on Thursday reported almost 7,000 cases of the variant, up from the over 3,500 cases reported the week prior, per Reuters.
  • The rise in infections could threaten England's final stage of reopening — originally scheduled for June 21, Reuters reports.

Go deeper: Former Boris Johnson aide gives scathing testimony on U.K.'s early COVID response

Go deeper