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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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TOURISM

French Rivera tourist businesses eagerly await return of Cannes film festival

The five-star palace hotels are in full swing, the sound of music drifts across the beach and after a 'horrible' year blighted by coronavirus, Cannes is buzzing again for its international film festival.

French Rivera tourist businesses eagerly await return of Cannes film festival
Hotels in Cannes are keen to welcome visitors again. Photo: Valery Hache/AFP

“We can’t wait,” admits Pierrick Cizeron, chief executive at the Majestic hotel that overlooks the Mediterranean and the festival convention centre.

In 2020, the festival that draws stars from across the world, had to be cancelled because of the pandemic.

With France under a partial lockdown in Spring, the 2021 edition has been delayed from the usual May date to July 6-17.

The festival pulled in 40,000 people a day pre-Covid – only about half that number are expected this year – and provided 20 percent of annual hotel turnover.

“It’s more than just the excitement, we are in the middle of recruiting 250 people for the season,” says Yann Gillet, director of the luxury Martinez hotel, which was full for the late May bank holiday weekend.

Last year’s cancellation,he says, left staff “heartbroken” at a hotel that usually fills with celebrities for the festival.

The movie extravaganza, “is a real driving force and punctuates our year,” Gillet says.

“Often clients come to see us and ask if it really was Brad Pitt’s room.”

On the seventh floor of the Martinez, which was totally renovated in 2019, the final touches are being made to a double penthouse suite booked by Chopard jewellers for the duration of the festival.

The Riviera resort had lived well off tourism and conventions, but the hotels and restaurants that provided most of the local jobs have been shut for long periods and had to rely on government handouts to try to keep mounting debt under control.

Despite high hopes for the festival, the hotels, which had been shut since September-October, are far from fully booked.

“We are only 10 percent full in June and 25 percent in July,” says Cannes hotel union leader Christine Welter.

“It’s an unexpected opportunity for people to come to the festival because in normal times it would be complicated,” with hotel rooms at a premium and all booked out.

“And that’s a good thing this year,” she adds. “We have two-star hotels in the middle of town starting at 100 euros a night where normally there would be no rooms available during the festival.”

In previous years the cheapest hotel rooms that start at €40 a night could fetch €260 during the festival.

The authorities are trying to vaccinate as many people as quickly as possible and health protocols are firmly in place, says Welter, as business builds up again.

On the Croisette, that runs along the seafront, a flower delivery man zigzags through the crowd carrying a display in each hand. Out at sea, a speedboat pulls a parachute covered with advertising.

In the expensive shop windows, handbags, dresses and shoes await visitors with money to spend.

The festival “puts a rocket under our sales, we have magnificent clients,” says 42-year-old Olivier Zambrana, who works at a Jimmy Choo boutique.

He would usually buy in double stocks for cashed-up festival-goers, but for now, he says, the shop will wait and see how things go.

At Giry’s, caterer to Cannes for 50 years, business is slowly picking up.

In his office, with most of the staff still on furlough, Luc Guibout is recording his first orders in a year.

“There’s no big bang but it feels like things are starting to kick off again,” he smiles, after what he describes as a “horrible” year.

On the other side of town, in the La Bocca quarter, workers are busy finishing a new multiplex “Cineum” with 2,400 seats. The festival will inaugurate four of the 12 auditoriums.

The Cineum backs on to a new audiovisual studies campus that will take in its first 900 students in September, as city hall looks to capitalise on the global reputation of the festival.

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