Denmark on Monday became the first country to exclude Johnson & Johnson’s (J&J) COVID vaccine from its vaccination program over a potential link to blood clotting disorders.The Danish Health Authority said in a statement it had concluded “the benefits of using the COVID-19 vaccine from J&J do not outweigh the risk of causing the possible adverse effect in those who receive the vaccine,” Reuters reported.
Danish health officials noted the European Medicines Agency’s (EMA) conclusion that “there is a possible link between rare but severe cases of blood clots and the COVID-19 vaccine from J&J,” referring to an investigation last month into eight U.S. reports of rare blood clots — one of which was fatal — that occurred after recent vaccination.
Unlike the Danish Health Authority however, the EMA concluded the benefits of using the J&J vaccine outweigh the risks. The EMA did recommend adding a warning to J&J’s vaccine label, and the company said it would comply with that measure.
“Taking the present situation in Denmark into account, what we are currently losing in our effort to prevent severe illness from COVID-19 cannot outweigh the risk of causing possible side effects in the form of severe blood clots in those we vaccinate,” the health authority said.
Denmark stopped using AstraZeneca’s vaccine last month after European regulators found a possible link between AstraZeneca’s COVID vaccine and “very rare” blood clots.
Both J&J and AstraZeneca vaccines use a modified adenovirus vector technology as opposed to the mRNA technology used in the Moderna and Pfizer’s COVID vaccines.
Though J&J and AstraZeneca vaccines have been under the microscope for their potential to cause blood clots, scientists warned, as far back as December 2020, that mRNA vaccines like Pfizer and Moderna pose similar risks.
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