Australia Won't Approve Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine Use Over Blood Clot Side Effect

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Johnson & Johnson will delay rollout of its Covid-19 vaccine in Europe following six cases of a rare type of blood clot in the United States
Johnson & Johnson will delay rollout of its Covid-19 vaccine in Europe following six cases of a rare type of blood clot in the United States AFP / Mark RALSTON

The Australian government does not intend to provide provisional approval for the use of the one-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine in the country. This comes as cases of rare blood clots linked to it have been reported. 

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Health Minister Greg Hunt confirmed that the government had been in talks with the US-based pharmaceutical company, but as of the moment, there are no plans of sealing a contract with J&J. 

“J&J is another viral vector vaccine and we have no advice recommending, at this point, that the government purchased any additional viral vector vaccine,” Hunt said, the  Associated Press  noted. 

“That’s not a reflection, that’s simply an observation.”

The decision comes as more cases of rare blood clots among those inoculated with the J&J COVID-19 vaccine have come up in recent weeks. In the US, the FDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have announced Tuesday that it's pausing the use of the single-dose vaccine after six cases of a severe type of blood clot have been reported. 

"Safety is a top priority for the federal government," acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock  said during a virtual briefing. She added that the government is acting "out of an abundance of caution."

However, in Australia, the government's decision not to purchase J&J vaccines further slows down the rollout of vaccinations in the country.  

With AstraZeneca vaccinations on hold among those below 50 years old, the government's plan to deliver at least one dose of the vaccine to all eligible adults by October seems unlikely. 

It still hopes that with the recent purchase of  20 million doses of Pfizer vaccine, it can reach its goal before the end of 2021. 

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