EU gives green light to J&J's single-shot vaccine

The first COVID-19 vaccine that works as a single dose has got the green light from the European Union.

Its drugs regulator on Thursday (March 11) recommended conditionally approving Johnson & Johnson's shot.

The move comes as the bloc seeks to speed up its stuttering inoculation campaign and boost its supplies of vaccines.

The shot is the fourth to be endorsed for use in the EU, after vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca-Oxford University and Moderna.

The European Medicines Agency said use of the J&J vaccine is recommended for those over 18 years of age.

Its approval follows green lights in the United States, Canada and Bahrain, while South Africa is carrying out an expedited review.

An EU official had previously told Reuters that Johnson & Johnson said it was facing supply issues.

And that these may complicate plans to deliver 55 million doses to the bloc in the second quarter of the year.

The region is having difficulty taming a spike cases driven by a more contagious variant of the virus, with countries including Italy and France imposing fresh lockdowns.