Johnson & Johnson Pause COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout Over Blood Clot Fears

Johnson & Johnson Vaccine

Johnson & Johnson said they are delaying the rollout of their 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 yesterday. US officials suspended vaccinations after 6 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 efforts to vaccinate the world and bring the pandemic to a close. The European Union was relying on the single-dose vaccine to boost its immunisation drive, and deliveries to the 27 member states had just started this week.

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.

Meanwhile, the US says production from Pfizer Inc and Moderna Inc should be enough to meet US demand, one official said.

Pfizer and Moderna make up about 95% of weekly US shots being allocated as of now, with J&J accounting for the rest. President Joe Biden has pledged to have enough vaccine, including J&J, for all Americans by the end of May.

It’s not clear how long the pause will last, and when the use of the J&J shot could resume. The US expects to receive 24 million doses this month.

The J&J jab was the third vaccine to be approved in Thailand, Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said on Saturday, after AstraZeneca and Sinovac.

Thailand has ordered the J&J vaccine, with the first shipment expected toward the end of the year. Taweesilp Visanuyothin, spokesman for the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), said having different vaccines will help lessen the risk of becoming too reliant on a particular one.