ABOVE: Johnson & Johnson building in Ontario, Canada © ISTOCK.COM, JHVEPHOTO

Johnson & Johnson announced today (November 24) that its COVID-19 vaccine was fully approved by Health Canada for individuals 18 and older. The approval follows data in a clinical study conducted by the pharmaceutical company that showed the single-shot vaccine was 75 percent effective at protecting people from severe or critical COVID-19. The efficacy data were collected about a month post-vaccination. Health Canada writes that the vaccine was 66 percent effective at protecting clinical trial participants in a government-led study where efficacy data were collected two weeks after vaccination. 

Johnson & Johnson’s single shot was previously authorized in March 2021 in Canada under an interim order for emergency use in adults over 18 years of age. The shot has not yet received full approval in the United States. 

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Earlier this year, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine received increased scrutiny after rare blood clotting conditions and other adverse events were reported. Rollouts in the United States and the EU were even temporarily paused until further investigation was completed. But Canada did not stop dolling out the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at that time. Instead, its National Advisory Committee on Immunization allowed Canadian citizens to choose for themselves while urging them to weigh the risks of blood clotting against their safety while waiting for other brands’ vaccines that were not widely available at the time, reports the CBC

Johnson & Johnson is the third COVID-19 vaccine to receive full approval from Health Canada, following the health agency's greenlight of Pfizer/BioNTech’s and Moderna’s double-dose vaccinations.