Belgium suspends J&J vaccine for under 41s after death

Health

BRUSSELS (AP) — Belgium on Wednesday suspended the use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine for people under age 41 following the death of a person who had received the shot.

The government said in a statement it was asking for urgent advice from the European Medicines Agency, the European Union’s drug regulator, before it would consider lifting the suspension. It added that the impact on the national vaccination drive would be very limited.

Belgium was using the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for elderly with reduced mobility and the homeless since it only takes one shot to be protected. Those shots will be continued.

It said it took the action after a single case “where there was serious side effects after administering the Janssen vaccine,” using the local name for the Johnson & Johnson shot.

It said a woman was vaccinated through her foreign employer outside the Belgian system and had died in Belgium last week after developing “serious thrombosis and reduced blood platelets.”

It didn’t provide more information about the patient, beyond saying she was under 40.

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