Saturday 15 May 2021

Dutch won’t use Johnson & Johnson vaccine pending EMA review

Proof of vaccination. Photo: DutchNews.nl

The Netherlands will not start using the Leiden-developed Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine until the European Medicines Agency has completed its safety review, health minister Hugo de Jonge said on Wednesday evening.

The Netherlands has some 80,000 doses of the single shot vaccine in storage but J&J has asked EU countries not to use them until the research into rare blood clots has been completed. The vaccine was destined for front line healthcare staff and people in living in small psychiatric units.

The EMA expects to complete its research next week. It has said the vaccine can be used because its advantages outweigh the disadvantages.

De Jonge, however, has opted to ignore that advice. ‘It is very irritating but we should not panic. We just need to wait for a week,’ he said.

The Netherlands has ordered 11.3 million doses of the Janssen vaccine in total.

So far nearly four million doses of Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines have been given in the Netherlands, but the decision to stop using the AstraZeneca product on the under 60s because of safety fears is likely to slow progress.

Nevertheless, Pfizer said on Wednesday it would be able to deliver some two million doses of vaccines earlier than planned, news which De Jonge described as ‘fantastic’.

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