After the US drugmaker announced that it would suspend the delivery of its Covid19 vaccine pending a review of the risk of blood clots, the European Commission said it was seeking clarification from Johnson & Johnson. France is one of several EU countries that rely on vaccines to boost their immunization campaigns.
On Tuesday, the American company said it would postpone the launch of its vaccine in Europe and is working with European health authorities to exam
ine rare cases of blood clots among people receiving the jab. The company said in a statement: “We have decided to proactively postpone the launch of our vaccine in Europe.” Before the announcement, the U.S. Federal Health Agency recommended that the vaccine should be suspended in the case of rare blood clots in six women under the age of 50 about two weeks after receiving the dose.
The announcement this week that Johnson & Johnson has begun to promote its vaccines in Europe has raised concerns about the supply of vaccines to EU member states. It is not clear whether the delay will affect the delivery of 55 million doses of vaccine to the EU by the end of June-the company’s target set last week.
An official who asked not to be named told Reuters: “The European Commission is contacting the company.” He added that the delay was “completely unexpected.” A spokesperson for the European Commission said that the EU executive agency did not immediately make a formal comment.
France is using its dose share to maintain the momentum of its vaccine campaign. Belgium stated that it would not stop launching products at this stage; Dutch regulators stated that the benefits outweighed the risks; Spain stated that it was not aware of any delays.
In the United States, more than 6.8 million doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine have been injected, and the US health department said blood clots are very rare. The delay came after the AstraZeneca vaccine developed in the UK was associated with a similar, extremely rare blood clot.