Johannesburg — South Africa stopped vaccination of Johnson & Johnson as a “precautionary measure” on Tuesday, and the company went to Europe after the FDA decided to suspend the jab while a very rare case of a blood clot was being investigated. The deployment of the vaccine has been postponed.
South Africa has given more than 289,000 J & J vaccines to national health workers without reports of rare blood clots, Health Minister Zweli Mkhizee told reporters.
He said South Africa has “with great care” stopped using J & J jabs and hopes that questions about the J & J vaccine will be “resolved within a few days.”
Mkhize said South Africa will continue its vaccination campaign in May using doses from Pfizer-BioNTech in the “just in case” that the J & J vaccine will be permanently stopped.
Earlier, Johnson & Johnson said in a US study that it was delaying the rollout of the coronavirus vaccine across Europe.
The announcement came after U.S. regulators stated that they recommended a “pause” of single-dose shots to investigate reports of rare but potentially dangerous blood clots. ..
“We have decided to aggressively postpone the deployment of the vaccine in Europe,” said Johnson & Johnson.
This delay is a further blow to the European Union’s vaccination efforts, which have been plagued by supply shortages, logistics problems and concerns about abnormal blood clots for the small number of people vaccinated with AstraZeneca.
Blood clot reports have led some of the 27 block countries to limit the AstraZeneca vaccine to the elderly. The European Medicines Agency, the block’s drug regulator, allows all people over the age of 18 to inject AstraZeneca.
Both the J & J vaccine and the AstraZeneca vaccine use a cold virus called adenovirus to carry the coronavirus spike gene into the body and stimulate an immune response. Johnson & Johnson uses human adenovirus to create the vaccine, and AstraZeneca uses the chimpanzee version.
In a statement on Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration said they were investigating six abnormal blood clots, including one death that occurred 6 to 13 days after J & J Shot vaccination. It was. The FDA Commissioner said the suspension is expected to last for several days.
The European Medicines Agency said it is “currently unknown” whether J & J Shot caused a rare coagulopathy.
Last week, EU drug regulators said they found a “potential link” between injections of AstraZeneca and rare blood clots, but the benefits of vaccination far outweigh the risks of COVID-19. Said that it exceeded. He said the risk of such clots is less than the risk of clots faced by healthy women from oral contraceptives.
European regulators on March 11 approved the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for use in the EU, but the first supply is just arriving now.
The EU ordered 200 million Johnson & Johnson in 2021. The UK has ordered 30 million J & J vaccines but has not yet approved their use.
France plans to vaccinate 200,000 doses this week and will start vaccination for people over the age of 55 next week.
In Croatia, one in four people have already refused to get the AstraZeneca vaccine, so state health services “panic and hurry to avoid regulatory reactions,” he said. The first of 900,000 J & J vaccines were to arrive on Wednesday.
Silvio Brusafero, director of the Italian National Institutes of Health, said it’s too early to say how the slowdown in J & J will affect vaccination plans, as the first 180,000 doses arrived on Tuesday. Said.
German officials, who were scheduled to receive 232,800 J & J doses this week and 10.1 million doses by the end of June, said there were no immediate changes to the plan on Tuesday.
“In principle, we take such warnings seriously and investigate them in an international context, of course,” Health Ministry spokesman Hanno Kautz told reporters in Berlin.
Spain expected 300,000 J & J doses on Wednesday. Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said the benefits of vaccination remain greater than the risks, but more information is needed.
In February, South Africa planned to use AstraZeneca Shot when a preliminary study suggested that the AstraZeneca vaccine had minimal effect on the first outbreak of COVID-19 variants in the country. After abandoning, research trials began vaccination of healthcare professionals with the J & J vaccine. ..
Frank Jordan, Maria Chen, Andrew Meldrum