EU rolls out one-shot J&J vaccine following safety reassurances

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European Union countries have begun administering Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose coronavirus vaccine – linked to a rare blood clotting disorder – following recommendations by the bloc’s drug regulator.

Spanish people aged 70 to 79 were receiving the dose Thursday, while Germany's vaccine regulator said Friday the vaccine was safe and that its side effects were rare.

The European Medicines Agency said on Tuesday the benefits of the vaccine manufactured by J&J, also known as Janssen, outweighed the risks. Although it placed no restrictions on its use, the EMA said the shot should come with a warning label.

As with the AstraZeneca vaccine, the EMA has left it up to EU individual member states to decide how to use the J&J shot. Many countries are expected to impose age restrictions.

EU official have promised to have enough J&J doses available to vaccinate 70 percent of European adults by the summer.

The United States and South Africa were the only two countries to have administering the J&J vaccine before it was paused over blood clot fears.

Its use is expected to be resumed in the US if an advisory panel for the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, which is meeting on Friday, decided it is safe.

Meanwhile the European Commission is reportedly looking to launch legal action against AstraZeneca for underdelivering Covid-19 vaccine doses to the EU.

So far, AstraZeneca has delivered 30 million of the 120 million doses it had promised.