A file photo taken on November 17, 2020 shows vials with Covid-19 Vaccine stickers attached and syringes with the logo of US pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson in London. (AFP-Yonhap)
A South Korean panel of experts on Thursday recommended the approval of the COVID-19 vaccine by Johnson & Johnson's Janssen, saying it showed around 66 percent efficacy.
The advisory board consisting of outside experts and officials of the country's drug safety agency announced its review on the efficacy and safety of Janssen's one-shot regimen.
The panel's review is the second step of three separate independent evaluations before the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety gives the final approval, which is expected early this month.
The panel advised the ministry to approve Janssen's vaccine, saying it showed an efficacy rate of around 66 percent in preventing moderate to severe COVID-19 infections among adults aged 18 and older.
The experts detected cases of abnormal response during clinical trials, but the number is within a permissible level, the ministry said.
Janssen's approval would mark the country's third COVID-19 vaccine, following vaccines by British-Swedish pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca and Oxford University and by Pfizer Inc.
The Seoul government earlier signed a contract with Janssen for 6 million bottles for the country's 52 million population. The bottles are scheduled to be provided in the third quarter. (Yonhap)