Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Halted In South Africa, Europe After U.S. Pause

South Africa suspended use of the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine Tuesday “out of an abundance of caution,” becoming the latest nation to do so after U.S. regulators paused the shot to investigate cases of six women who developed rare but severe blood clots after they received it.

Health Minister Dr. Zweli Mkhize said the government would wait until a possible link between the two was “sufficiently” investigated before it would resume its rollout.

Mkhize added that there have been no reports of blood clots in Johnson & Johnson vaccine recipients in South Africa.

Since South Africa approved the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for use in early April, it has administered nearly 290,000 shots among healthcare workers as part of a research study.

Johnson & Johnson said earlier Tuesday it would proactively delay its vaccine rollout in the European Union, which cleared the shot for use in March and was slated to receive its first doses of it this month.

The announcements came after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the Food and Drug Administration recommended a pause in distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine while regulators assessed the small number of blood clots in female recipients of the shot.

Dozens of U.S. states have announced plans to freeze distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine until federal regulators complete investigations into the cases, a process health officials said could take between days and weeks.

The CDC will hold a meeting Wednesday to determine the significance of the cases, while the FDA also continues its own investigation.


With nearly 7 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine already administered in the U.S., the CDC and FDA called the cases of severe blood clots “extremely rare.” All six women developed the clots within 6 to 13 days of vaccination and were between the ages of 18 and 48. The FDA said one of the women died, while another was hospitalized in critical condition. In a statement, Johnson & Johnson said it was “aware of an extremely rare disorder involving people with blood clots in combination with low platelets in a small number of individuals” and that it would review the cases with health authorities.

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