J&J Clot Risk Not Bad Enough to Bar Use in EU, Agency Says

The single-dose shot can help in rural, underserved communities
By Liz MacGahan,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 20, 2021 1:30 PM CDT
EU Agency Says J&J Vaccine Benefits Outweigh Clot Risk
Boxes of Janssen vaccines sit at a warehouse of Hungaropharma, a Hungarian pharmaceutical wholesale company, in Budapest, Hungary   (Szilard Koszticsak/MTI via AP)

The benefits of the Johnson & Johnson one-shot COVID vaccine outweigh the risks. That’s what the European Medicines Agency concluded Tuesday, suggesting that the shots come with a warning but that the rollout in Europe go forward. Shots were paused in the US last week after six cases of blood clots surfaced. The EMA safety committee found the risk of clots and low platelets was a rare side-effect and the benefit of a single dose to people with less access to medical infrastructure was greater than the risk of complications. Other COVID vaccines require two shots a few weeks apart. Clots have turned up mainly in women under 60, the Hill reports.

A similar concern over clots forced some European countries to delay rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is made with a technology similar to the J&J vaccine, CNN reports. But as with J&J, health regulators found that the vaccine’s benefits outweighed risks. Some countries, however, are only giving the shot to older people. The EMA decision isn’t law and member states can decide whether and how to use the J&J shot, the New York Times reports. The CDC will likely have recommendations for the future of the vaccine in the US on Friday after a panel of experts meets. (Standard treatment of the clots in the US may have made things worse.)

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