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Benefits of Johnson & Johnson vaccine outweigh 'very rare' blood clot risks, EU says

Shipments of the coronavirus vaccine to Europe will resume.

Corinne Reichert Senior Editor
Corinne Reichert (she/her) grew up in Sydney, Australia and moved to California in 2019. She holds degrees in law and communications, and currently writes news, analysis and features for CNET across the topics of electric vehicles, broadband networks, mobile devices, big tech, artificial intelligence, home technology and entertainment. In her spare time, she watches soccer games and F1 races, and goes to Disneyland as often as possible.
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Corinne Reichert
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Distribution of Johnson & Johnson's vaccine will go ahead in Europe.

James Martin/CNET

The benefits of receiving Johnson & Johnson's vaccine outweigh the risks of side effects or of contracting COVID-19, the European Medicines Agency said Tuesday, adding there's a possible link between that vaccine and blood clots. Similar to its finding on the AstraZeneca vaccine earlier this month, the EMA said blood clots should be listed as a "rare" side effect.

Current evidence includes eight cases of blood clots, one fatal, in the more than 7 million people who received the vaccine in the US. No existing risk factors for those eight people have been disclosed yet, however.

Watch this: COVID-19 vaccines and blood clots explained

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"The reported combination of blood clots and low blood platelets is very rare, and the overall benefits of COVID-19 Vaccine Janssen in preventing COVID-19 outweigh the risks of side effects," the EMA said. The agency added that COVID-19 itself "is associated with a risk of hospitalisation and death."

Johnson & Johnson will resume shipments of its coronavirus vaccine to the EU, Norway and Iceland.

A CDC advisory committee is expected to vote on a recommendation on April 23 for J&J's continued vaccine rollout in the US after it was put on pause on April 14.

Johnson & Johnson's scientists pushed back on the pause last week, saying there's insufficient evidence of a causal link between its vaccine and blood clots in a small number of patients who received it.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.