US health agencies have called for suspending the use of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine, after cases of extremely rare blood clotting were reported.
A joint statement issued by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said: “As of April 12, more than 6.8 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine have been administered in the U.S. CDC and FDA are reviewing data involving six reported U.S. cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot in individuals after receiving the J&J vaccine”.
All six cases occurred among women between the ages of 18 and 48, and symptoms occurred 6 to 13 days after vaccination, it added.
The American medical company has also announced to delaying vaccine rollout in Europe.
The US move comes after similar rare cases were reported after the AstraZeneca vaccine was administered.
On February 27, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was approved by the US and its use has been more limited so far than that of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna doses.
The New York Times quoted officials as saying one woman had died and another was in a critical condition.
The joint statement said that “people who have received the J&J vaccine who develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination should contact their health care provider”.
The federal government is now likely to suspend the use of the vaccine.
Johnson & Johnson in a statement said that that public safety was its top priority” and that it shared “all adverse event reports” with the health agencies.
It added: “We are aware that thromboembolic events including those with thrombocytopenia have been reported with Covid-19 vaccines. At present, no clear causal relationship has been established between these rare events and the Janssen (J&J) Covid-19 vaccine.”
“We have made the decision to proactively delay the rollout of our vaccine in Europe,” it said.