Belgium won’t administer Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccines yet
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Belgium won’t administer Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccines yet

Credit: Belga

The first Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccines will not yet be used in Belgium in the coming days, said Federal Public Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke at the end of Wednesday’s Consultative Committee.

The pharmaceutical company recommended that countries that have already received deliveries of the coronavirus vaccine not use the doses until the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has made a decision on its safety.

“Today Johnson & Johnson asked to ‘put the doses we already received in quarantine’, which it is doing as a precaution. So, the most logical conclusion is not to do the tests with these vaccines in the coming days,” said Vandenbroucke.

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He added that Belgium would await a decision from the EMA, which is currently reviewing the very rare cases of unusual blood clots that occurred in the US following the use of Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus vaccine, and will announce whether regulatory action is necessary next week.

The nearly 1,700 people who were due to be injected with a dose of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine next week in Wallonia will receive the AstraZeneca vaccine, Walloon Health Minister Christie Morreale and Covid-19 delegate general for Wallonia Yvon Englert announced Thursday.

The “pause of a few days” of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, of which the first 36,000 doses were delivered on Monday, “will not affect our campaign”, said Vandenbroucke.

A further 62,400 doses were expected in the week of 26 April, but further deliveries were not yet planned, which means that, in the short term, the impact of this postponement is therefore small.

Lauren Walker
The Brussels Times