EU reviews possible link between Janssen vaccine and rare blood clots

covid-vaccine
Eu Reviews Possible Link Between Janssen Vaccine And Rare Blood Clots Eu Reviews Possible Link Between Janssen Vaccine And Rare Blood Clots
Used vials of the Janssen Covid-19 vaccine. Photo: Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images
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Thomson Reuters

The European Union's medicines regulator said it is reviewing reports of rare blood clots in four people who received Janssen's Covid-19 vaccine and has expanded its probe into AstraZeneca's jab to include reports of a bleeding condition.

Of the four serious cases of clotting and low platelets, three occurred in the United States during the rollout of Johnson & Johnson's vaccine from its Janssen unit, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) said on Friday, adding that one person had died and that one case was reported in a clinical trial.

It was the first news of EMA's probe of the Janssen vaccine, while AstraZeneca's coronavirus vaccine has been dogged for weeks over possible links to rare blood clots in the brain and abdomen, which the EMA has confirmed.

US-based J&J said that it was aware of the reports of blood clots possibly related to its Covid-19 vaccine and others, and is working with regulators to assess the data and provide relevant information.

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“At present, no clear causal relationship has been established between these rare events and the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine,” the company said in an emailed statement.

The EMA also said that it was not yet clear if there was a link between the two vaccines and the reported conditions, and that its safety committee will decide if regulatory action such as label changes were needed.

Some countries in Europe and Asia have restricted the use of AstraZeneca's vaccine, Vaxzevria, in younger people following an update by EU and UK regulators this week that found a link between the events and the shot. Regulators have said the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks.

Janssen's single-dose vaccine has been approved for EU use, but a rollout is yet to begin. It is mainly being used in the United States currently.

Ireland is expecting its first delivery of Janssen vaccines later this month. By June more than 600,000 doses will have arrived in the country.

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A total of 2.19 million Janssen jabs have been secured under purchasing agreements for this year; enough to vaccinate half the Irish population.

The EMA also said five cases of capillary leak syndrome in people who received AstraZeneca's vaccine were reported.

The condition, in which blood leaks from the smallest of vessels into muscles and body cavities, is characterised by swelling and a drop in blood pressure. AstraZeneca did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The J&J and AstraZeneca shots are two of the four approved Covid-19 vaccinations in Europe.

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