Australia excludes Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine from national rollout

Lula Sharp
April 14, 2021

U.S. health authorities earlier recommended pausing the Johnson & Johnson shot while the company said it would delay its European rollout, after six American women aged between 18 and 48 developed a rare type of clot in the brain along with low platelets.

In a further blow to the flagging programme, officials last week said the AstraZeneca shot should no longer be given to people under the age of 50, unless they had already received a first dose without any ill effects.

Germany and several other countries in the 27-nation European Union to limit the AstraZeneca shots to older age groups, who are more at risk from serious illness when infected with Covid-19.

Trade Minister Dan Tehan is now due to leave Thursday for talks with his counterparts in Germany, France and Brussels "to discuss vaccine production and the European Union export restriction regime" for AstraZeneca, his office said.

On Tuesday, the use of Johnson & Johnson's coronavirus vaccine was paused in the USA and its roll-out in Europe and in South Africa was delayed as health authorities investigate a potential link to rare blood clots.

The United Kingdom has found the overall risk of these rare blood clots was approximately one in 250,000 people who received the vaccine.

People receive the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine at a high school in Houston last month. | GO NAKAMURA  THE NEW YORK TIMES
People receive the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine at a high school in Houston last month. | GO NAKAMURA THE NEW YORK TIMES

As of Tuesday, Canada recorded more than 1,076,000 cases of coronavirus and 23,385 deaths.

The new policy is in line with recommendations released last week by Germany's vaccine commission, which also recommended the second injection be given 12 weeks after the initial AstraZeneca dose.

"The case occurred in a woman in her 40s who was vaccinated in Western Australia", a statement read.

Premier Ford and Health Minsiter Christine Elliott have both received doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to prove it is safe.

This report also comes as the US has called for a pause on Johnson & Johnson's Janssen single-dose COVID-19 vaccine after reports of rare blood clots.

"Based on all of the evidence available internationally to-date, Health Canada continues to consider that the benefits of the AstraZeneca and COVISHIELD vaccines to protect against COVID-19 outweigh the potential risks".

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