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Johnson & Johnson resumes vaccine deliveries to Europe

Credit: Belga

The pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson will resume deliveries of its coronavirus vaccine to European countries following the review of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) on Tuesday.

EMA said that it believes the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the possible risks, but did include the combination of thrombosis and low platelet count as a possible “very rare” side effect on the package leaflet – prompting Johnson & Johnson to resume its deliveries.

“We strongly believe in the positive benefits of our single-shot, easily transportable Covid-19 vaccine to help protect the health of people everywhere and reach communities in need globally,” said Chief Scientific Officer Paul Stoffels.

Last week, the company announced that it was “proactively” delaying deliveries to Europe following several reports of rare blood clots after vaccination in the United States.

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In a press release, the company announced that it will update the product information to include the very rare side effects, adding that it remains committed to supplying 200 million doses to the EU, Norway and Iceland.

Belgium has ordered 5 million doses of the single-shot vaccine.

“We are now going to look at [EMA’s opinion] with the Superior Health Council and the Vaccination Taskforce,” Pierre Van Damme, who is a member of the task force, said on Flemish radio.

“After that, it is up to the politicians to make the decision,” he added. “We have to use the vaccine as wisely as possible.”

While the EMA said the side effects are similar to those associated with AstraZeneca’s vaccine, Van Damme did not want to comment on introducing a possible age limit for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, as is currently in force for AstraZeneca’s shot, which is only being given to people over 55 years old.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times