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

Shipments of the coronavirus vaccine to Europe will resume.

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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.

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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.

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