Talks ongoing ahead of Bahrain's Janssen single shot vaccine roll-out

Release date of supplies into the country has not yet been agreed

A billboard in Manama, the capital of Bahrain, urges people to sign up for a voluntary vaccine. AFP
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A single shot coronavirus vaccine supplied by Janssen is yet to be added to the inoculation schedule in Bahrain after the Belgian drug maker said discussions with the government in Manama were continuing.

As The National reported on Monday, supplies of the vaccine by Johnson & Johnson-owned Janssen were expected to arrive in Bahrain.

Residents were able to access the Sinopharm, Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca and Sputnik V vaccines on Wednesday. They can choose a vaccine where available.

Bahrain was the first Gulf nation, and one of the first worldwide, to approve the vaccine for use after the US last week.

"We are in ongoing discussions with kingdom of Bahrain government authorities regarding supply of the Janssen Covid-19 vaccine. However, the details of these negotiations are confidential," a representative of Johnson & Johnson said.

“We will provide an update as and when an agreement is finalised.”

In December 2020, Janssen reached an agreement in principle with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance to provide up to 500 million doses of its coronavirus vaccine candidate in support of the Covax facility.

Covax is designed to meet the initial vaccination needs of 190 participant economies, including Bahrain.

It is jointly led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, Gavi and the World Health Organisation, alongside delivery partner Unicef.

Its aim is to accelerate the development and manufacture of vaccines, and to guarantee fair and equitable access for every country in the world.

Similar to the UAE, Bahrain was among global leaders in the race to vaccinate its small population.

Since the early days of the roll-out, the nation has faced setbacks as supplies of scheduled vaccines slowed.

So far, Bahrain has administered vaccines providing protection to roughly 17 per cent of the population.