Sweden pauses plans for J&J COVID-19 vaccinations, awaits review

FILE PHOTO: People stand in line to get a vaccine against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outside the Stockholmsmassan exhibition center, turned mass vaccination centre, in Stockholm, Sweden, April 8, 2021. Fredrik Sandberg/TT News Agency via REUTERS

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) -Sweden’s Health Agency said on Wednesday it would pause plans to start vaccinations using Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine following reports of rare blood clots similar to those reported for the AstraZeneca shot.

The Health Agency said in a statement it would not start the vaccinations and await the findings of a review by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). The vaccine has not yet been used in Sweden though a first batch of 31,000 doses has arrived in the country.

U.S. federal health agencies have recommended pausing the use of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) COVID-19 vaccine after six recipients developed a rare disorder involving blood clots. Following the news, J&J said it was delaying the roll out of the vaccine to Europe.

“We are now looking to the EMA review as well as information from the United States before we consider the recommendations in Sweden,” Chief Epidemiologist Anders Tegnell said. “Until then, the recommendation is to not use the vaccine doses.”

The Health Agency said it could not provide a forecast for when a final decision would be taken.”

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