Belgium Suspends Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine for People Under 41 After First EU Death

Kimberly Redmond  |

Belgium suspended the use of the Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) COVID-19 vaccine for citizens under age 41 following the death of a woman who received the one-dose shot. 

In a statement Wednesday, the government said it was seeking advice from the European Medicines Agency (EMA), the European Union’s drug regulator, before it would consider lifting the suspension.

Officials said they took action after a woman vaccinated with the J&J vaccine died after developing “serious thrombosis and reduced blood platelets.” The woman — who was under the age of 40 — was vaccinated through her foreign employer and died on May 21, according to reports.

She is the first person in Europe to die from severe side effects of J&J's shot.

Officials also added that the overall impact on the country’s vaccination drive would be very limited and that it will continue vaccinating the elderly and homeless with the J&J vaccine. 

The vaccine was created by J&J's Belgian drug research and development unit Janssen Pharmaceuticals. Belgium has received around 40,000 doses of the J&J vaccine and so far has administered 80% of that supply to people age 45 and up. 

The EMA is continuing to evaluate the safety of all four vaccines approved for use in the EU, which also includes the ones made by AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.

Last month, the EMA drew a link between rare blood clots and the AstraZeneca and J&J vaccines, but said the benefits of the shots outweighed the risk and maintained a recommendation that they be used for all adults. 

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Source: Equities News

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