The United States has halted the distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine after six people developed blood clots within two weeks of vaccination.
The Food and Drug Administration and the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention announced that it will stop using the vaccine at federal sites after six women, aged between 18 and 48, developed blood clots.
One of the six recipients died and a second has been hospitalised in critical condition. However, this comes within the context of almost seven million doses of the J&J vaccine administered across the US.
“We are recommending a pause in the use of this vaccine out of an abundance of caution,” Dr Peter Marks, director of the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, and Dr Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the CDC, said in a joint statement.
“Right now, these adverse events appear to be extremely rare,” it said.
As of today, EU member states have begun receiving the J&J vaccine with the EU bloc expected to receive 55 million doses of the vaccine by June.
The AstraZeneca vaccine, which isn’t being distributed across the US, has had similar safety concerns surrounding the issue of blood clots.
Several countries, including Denmark, Italy and France, temporarily halted the distribution of the vaccine pending a review by the European Medicines Agency.
While the EMA concluded that AstraZeneca vaccine is linked to rare cases of blood clots found in people who received the vaccine, the Malta Medicines Authority maintained that the benefits of the vaccine “outweigh the risks of side effects” and said there were no plans to stop its distribution.
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