Medsafe Grants Provisional Approval of Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine

New Zealand’s regulatory authority Medsafe has granted provisional approval of the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine for individuals 18 years of age and older.

COVID-19 Minister Chris Hipkins says the approval of a second COVID-19 vaccine is welcome news. New Zealand has secured 2 million doses of the Janssen vaccine through an advance purchase agreement made last year. He says they have purchased a portfolio of vaccine options to provide us with flexibility.

“Medsafe follows a rigorous assessment process informed by the most up to date medical and scientific data. Approval has been very carefully considered with safety the key priority. The medical evidence shows Janssen is a very safe and effective vaccine. It is a great addition to our vaccine options,” says Minister Hipkins.

The Janssen COVID-19 vaccine has also received emergency or provisional approval in Canada, USA and Australia.

When questioned during a media briefing yesterday about the reported 66.9% effectiveness of the vaccine compared with 95% for the Pfizer vaccine, Minister Hipkins stated the ministry has not determined how or when the Janssen vaccine will be used but believes it will be effective.

The Minister says New Zealand is already receiving significant deliveries of the Pfizer vaccine and has secured enough doses of the Pfizer vaccine for the population of New Zealand and our Pacific neighbours, in 2021. “It’s good to have a range of options to access safe and effective vaccines to meet the need of New Zealanders now and in the future.”

Image credit: