Belgium said on Wednesday it was suspending vaccinations with Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccine for people under 41 following the death of a woman from severe side effects after receiving the vaccine.
“The interministerial conference has decided to temporarily administer the Janssen vaccine to the general population from the age of 41, pending a more detailed benefit-risk analysis by the EMA”, indicates a press release published by the Minister. Belgian Federal of Health and seven regional counterparts.
EMA is the European Medicines Agency of the European Union. There was no immediate comment from EMA or J&J (JNJ.N).
The woman – who was under 40 – died on May 21 after being admitted to hospital with severe thrombosis and platelet deficiency, the statement said.
She was vaccinated by her employer, outside of the official Belgian vaccination campaign.
Belgium has so far administered around 40,000 injections of J&J, 80% of which to people over 45, according to the statement.
J&J said on April 20 that it would resume deployment of its COVID-19 vaccine in Europe with a warning on its label, after asking countries, including Belgium, to suspend its use amid concerns about possible links to rare blood clots.
J&J said no clear causal relationship has been established between the clots.
Last month, the EMA discovered a possible link between the vaccine and rare blood clotting problems in adults given doses in the United States, but backed its overall benefits against any risks. Read more
He looked at eight known cases of coagulation associated with low platelet counts in people who received the J&J vaccine in the United States. All those affected were under the age of 60 and most were women. Read more
Janssen’s one-dose vaccine is mainly used in Belgium for home vaccination of the elderly and a number of vulnerable groups, including the homeless and undocumented.
Belgium requested the opinion of the EMA to assess the link between the death of the woman and the J&J vaccine.
He did not specify when he expected the EMA’s final opinion on this matter.
Most EU countries use the J&J vaccine, although Denmark has excluded it from its vaccination schedule and Italy has restricted its use to the elderly. Read more
The United States resumed use of the vaccine in April after a 10-day hiatus to investigate its link to extremely rare but potentially fatal blood clots.
Local authorities noted that the chances of developing the syndrome involving severe blood clots and low platelets as a result of the vaccine were very low. Read more
Earlier this month, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said it had found a “plausible causal association” after identifying 28 of the more than 8 cases of rare blood clots with low platelets, 7 million people who received the J&J vaccine. Read more
Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.