PHARMACEUTICAL giant Johnson & Johnson have launched themselves to the forefront of the global fight against Covid-19 by producing a vaccine, joining the likes of Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca.
Johnson & Johnson's vaccine is considered by many to be a "game-changer" and while Ireland is still waiting for the European Medicines Agency (EMA) to clinically approve the jab, once it arrives it has the potential to change the face of vaccination programmes around the world.
Here's everything you need to know about the latest Covid-19 vaccine:
Why is it considered a 'game-changer'?
The vaccine can be stored extremely safely and easily, unlike the Pfizer and Moderna alternatives.
It can be stored in a normal fridge, and doesn't need to be kept at ultra-cold temperatures like the aforementioned alternatives.
Because it's extremely easy to store, it's also extremely easy to transport.
This is massively important for anyone living in areas where it's logistically difficult to distribute ultra-cold vaccines to.
Ireland, with a high rural population will benefit greatly from this convenience.
It's also a one-shot jab, meaning that only one appointment/delivery is needed for it to be administered - unlike the AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Moderna jabs.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the vaccine will likely enable Irish people to "have a different life" by the end of summer.
How effective is it?
Trials of the vaccine show it is 72% effective in the US, and 66% effective overall at preventing moderate to severe Covid-19, 28 days after vaccination.
The jab has also been shown to be 85% effective overall in preventing severe disease and demonstrated complete protection against Covid-19 related hospitalisations and death as of day 28.
How many doses will Ireland receive?
Ireland is line to receive around 2.2 million doses to begin with, meaning that together with the supplies of Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca, the country will be able to administer vaccines to the entire population, with plenty to spare.
The EU has ordered 200 million doses of the vaccine, with an option to buy 200 million more.