The Dutch vaccination strategy has encountered another bump in the road. Rare cases of thrombosis may now also be linked to the Janssen vaccine. As a precautionary measure, the manufacturer has halted all deliveries of the vaccine to Europe.
The Netherlands has ordered 11.3 million doses of the Janssen (also known as Johnson & Johnson) vaccine. The Janssen vaccine offers sufficient immunity from coronavirus after just one shot, meaning that the country hopes to vaccinate 11.3 million people using this vaccine.
Next Thursday, the country was set to begin distributing 80,000 doses of the vaccine to healthcare workers. Whether or not this will go ahead is uncertain.
Reports of thrombosis in the US
The decision follows reports of low platelet counts and rare cases of thrombosis in women between the age of 18 and 48 in the US. However, the number of cases so far appears to be lower than those reported after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine.
So far, seven million people have received the Janssen vaccine. Out of these, there have been six cases of thrombosis, bringing the risk to less than one in a million. With the AstraZeneca vaccine, this risk is slightly higher, at about one in a hundred thousand.
AstraZeneca in the Netherlands
In the Netherlands, the distribution of AstraZeneca was briefly paused following similar reports. It was then decided that only people over the age of 60 would receive the vaccine as the EMA ruled the “benefits outweigh the risks.”
However, the Netherlands is already experiencing the damaging impact of the doubt over the use of AstraZeneca with 40% of over 60s in the Netherlands saying that they don’t want to receive the vaccine.
Cabinet awaits findings of the experts
The Dutch cabinet has no clear strategy yet concerning the continued distribution of the Janssen vaccine in the Netherlands.
Speaking at last night’s press conference, Minister for Health, Hugo De Jonge, briefly mentioned the vaccine. He said that he was unsure of whether the vaccine will continue to be used in the Netherlands and it must first be determined whether or not it’s safe.
The Dutch cabinet will now await the findings of research carried out by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the Medicines Evaluation Board (MEB).
According to the RIVM, vaccinations with the Janssen vaccine will continue next Thursday unless another decision is reached in the meantime.
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Feature Image: Janssen.com/Press Release