Denmark ditches J&J COVID-19 shots from vaccination programme

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COPENHAGEN: Denmark on Monday became the first country to exclude Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 shots from its vaccination programme over a potential link to a rare but serious form of blood clot.

The move comes after the Nordic country last month stopped using AstraZeneca’s vaccine altogether citing similar concerns.

The country’s health authority said in a statement it had found that “the benefits of using the COVID-19 vaccine from Johnson & Johnson do not outweigh the risk of causing the possible adverse effect in those who receive the vaccine”.

Excluding the J&J vaccine, which accounts for around a third of Denmark’s total contracted supplies of COVID-19 shots, would delay the country’s vaccination calendar by up to four weeks, it said.

Denmark, which has so far fully vaccinated 11.5% of its population, has gradually been reopening society since early March as infection rates has slowed, including indoor service at restaurants and cafes and allowing football fans into stadiums.

“Taking the present situation in Denmark into account, what we are currently losing in our effort to prevent severe illness from COVID-19 cannot outweigh the risk of causing possible side effects in the form of severe blood clots in those we vaccinate,” the health authority said.

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