Catalonia will receive 800,000 doses from Janssen this quarter

The Reig Jofre factory in Sant Joan Despí will start production in June, with a maximum capacity of one million a day

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Reig y Jofre facilities where the final process of Janssem's vaccine will be done

Sant Joan DespíCatalonia will receive from next month and during the second quarter 800,000 doses of the Janssen vaccine, of Johnson & Johnson, of the 5.5 million that the European mechanism of centralised purchase will award Spain. The vaccines will arrive from April and according to the Minister of Industry and Tourism, Reyes Maroto, will allow the vaccination campaign to "esalate" and meet the goal of immunising 70% of the Spanish population this summer.

During a visit to the Reig Jofre factory in Sant Joan Despí, which will start producing the Janssen vaccine in June, the minister and the European Commissioner for Home Affairs, Thierry Breton, who heads the European Commission's working group on vaccines, wanted to reassure that Europe will achieve herd immunity in July. "The agreement that Johnson & Johnson has made with this company is totally exemplary," said the commissioner. This vaccine, the fourth that has received authorisation from the European Medicines Agency (EMA), is the only one that is administered in a single dose and does not require deep-freezing, unlike Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

At the Sant Joan Despí plant, where half a thousand people work, they are preparing against the clock, and have invested in adapting the line to manufacture the vaccine. At its facilities, the active ingredient will be received from Holland, the formula will be stabilised and packaged in vials, each containing five doses. The plant will have a production capacity of one million doses per day (300 million doses per year), but this maximum will probably not be achieved

"We need very professional companies to "fill and finish", the final phase of production, a process that can be a bottleneck," warned the commissioner. The European Commission, however, is confident that with the 52 European factories working in the production and packaging of the vaccine (including the one in Sant Joan Despí) it will meet the target of 70% immunisation in June. "Spain will receive the doses it needs so that this summer there can be a reasonable tourist season," said the commissioner.

Brussels is not counting on the Russian vaccine

The Commission does not plan to include the Russian Sputnik V in its vaccine portfolio, although Russia is negotiating with manufacturers in Italy, Germany, France and Spain to produce it in Europe. Breton has argued that the process of industrial adaptation is long. "Reig started talking to Johnson & Johnson last June and it has taken a year to be able to start manufacturing the vaccine. There is a long process of technology transfer and industrial adaptation. Now we have four vaccines and 52 factories in Europe that are producing them. And we will have herd immunity this summer. The fight is now, not next year," he said

According to European Commission estimates, it will have a production capacity of 2 to 3 billion doses per year when all the planned industrial capacity is in place. "Everyone has to be clear that no single country can produce vaccines to immunise its population on its own: we are a continent and we are capable of fighting because we are together," Breton said.