BERLIN — Johnson & Johnson says it is delaying the rollout of its coronavirus vaccine in Europe amid a U.S. probe into rare blood clots.
The announcement came after regulators in the U.S. say they were recommending a “pause” in administration of the single-dose shot to investigate reports of potentially dangerous blood clots.
“We have been reviewing these cases with European health authorities,” the company said. “We have made the decision to proactively delay the rollout of our vaccine in Europe.”
The delay is another blow to vaccination drives in European Union member nations, which have been plagued by supply shortages, logistical problems and concerns over unusual blood clots in a small number of people who received the AstraZeneca vaccine.
The blood clot reports prompted several countries in the 27-nation bloc to limit the AstraZeneca vaccine to older age groups, who are more at risk from serious illness when infected with the coronavirus.
The European Medicines Agency, the EU’s equivalent to the FDA, says it is having its safety committee investigate these J&J blood clot cases “and will decide whether regulatory action may be necessary.”
The EU ordered 200 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in 2021. Britain ordered 30 million doses of the J& J shots, although U.K. regulators have not yet approved its use.