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J&J delays Covid-19 vaccine in Europe after rare clots

J&J delays Covid-19 vaccine in Europe after rare clots

The company is reviewing the cases with European health authorities
Photo credit: Shutterstock

Johnson & Johnson said it’s delaying the rollout of its Covid-19 vaccine in Europe after US regulators paused immunisations with the shot pending a review of rare blood clots.

The company is reviewing the cases with European health authorities, Johnson & Johnson said in a statement on Tuesday. US officials suspended vaccinations after six women suffered a type of brain blood clot similar to that reported as a rare side effect to the AstraZeneca Plc vaccine. About 6.8 million people in the US have received the J&J vaccine.

The incident is another blow to the European Union’s vaccine campaign. The EU was relying on the single-dose vaccine to boost its immunization drive, and deliveries to the 27 member states had just started this week. After a litany of supply and safety concerns around the Astra shot, immunisations have advanced in recent days in Germany, France and other countries.

The European Medicines Agency said in a statement that it’s not clear whether there’s a causal link between the vaccine and the clots. The EMA is investigating the cases to decide whether regulatory action is necessary.

55 million doses

The bloc had been expecting some 55 million doses of the J&J vaccine this quarter as it ramps up vaccination efforts. While the shot is approved in the EU, the inoculation campaign hasn’t started.

The EU’s drug regulator last week started a review to assess reports of clots in people who received the J&J vaccine. The vaccine is under review in the UK but hasn’t been approved there yet.

The J&J vaccine, like the one developed by Astra and the University of Oxford, uses an adenovirus to deliver the genetic material into the body to provoke a defence against Covid-19. The Oxford-Astra vaccine uses a chimpanzee adenovirus to achieve the response, while J&J’s is derived from humans. Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine and one from China’s CanSino Biologics Inc. also rely on that approach.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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