EU regulator says Johnson & Johnson vaccine benefits outweigh risks, shipments to resume in Europe

Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine
(Image credit: Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images)

Johnson & Johnson is set to resume shipments of its COVID-19 vaccine in Europe as the pause in the U.S. continues.

The European Medicines Agency on Tuesday said that "unusual blood clots" should be "listed as very rare side effects" of Johnson and Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine, but it determined the vaccine's benefits "outweigh the risks of side effects," Axios and The New York Times report.

The agency, after reviewing eight cases of rare blood clots among the millions of people in the United States who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, found a "possible link" between the vaccine and the blood clots, but it said the "risk of having this side effect is very low."

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"Healthcare professionals and people who will receive the vaccine should be aware of the possibility of very rare cases of blood clots combined with low levels of blood platelets occurring within three weeks of vaccination," the agency also said.

U.S. health officials last week called for a pause of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine while they examined these rare blood clotting cases. Johnson & Johnson says it will now resume shipment of its vaccine in the European Union, Norway, and Iceland. Meanwhile, the Times notes that an expert panel advising the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is set to meet later this week, and Dr. Anthony Fauci has predicted the vaccine's pause won't extend beyond this Friday.

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