The Malta Independent 18 May 2021, Tuesday

Updated (2): Johnson & Johnson delays vaccine rollout in Europe

Associated Press Tuesday, 13 April 2021, 13:35 Last update: about 2 months ago

Johnson & Johnson says it is delaying the rollout of its coronavirus vaccine in Europe amid a U.S. probe into rare blood clots.

The company announced the decision Tuesday after regulators in the United States said they were recommending a "pause" in administration of the single-dose shot to investigate reports of potentially dangerous blood clots.

"We have been reviewing these cases with European health authorities," the company said. "We have made the decision to proactively delay the rollout of our vaccine in Europe."

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Hundreds of thousands of doses of the vaccine were due to be shipped to Europe in the coming weeks.

Asked earlier Tuesday about a possible halt to the rollout of Johnson & Johnson vaccines in Germany, a Health Ministry spokesman said there were no immediate plans to change the schedule.

"I don't currently have the date from which Johnson & Johnson will be administered," the spokesman, Hanno Kautz, told reporters in Berlin. "But in principle, we naturally always take such warnings in an international context seriously and investigate them."

The European Medicines Agency, the EU's equivalent to the FDA, said it had already started reviewing the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to assess reports of blood clots in people who received the shot.

"These reports point to a 'safety signal,' but it is currently not clear whether there is a causal association between vaccination" with the Johnson & Johnson shot, it said. Experts were "investigating these cases and will decide whether regulatory action may be necessary," it added.

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