Johnson & Johnson vaccine under investigation over deadly blood clot cases
04/22/2021 // Virgilio Marin // Views

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is investigating a potential link between blood clots and the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine made by American pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson (J&J). The jab is the second vaccine to be linked to the same condition after AstraZeneca's COVID-19 shot.

The EMA, the European Union's drug regulator, announced on April 9 that it was reviewing four serious cases of blood clots accompanied by low blood platelets in people who received the J&J vaccine. One case was reported in a clinical trial while the rest occurred in the United States during the vaccine's rollout. The EMA confirmed that one of the cases resulted in death.

Thromboembolism, the name of the condition associated with the J&J vaccine, involves a blood clot forming in a blood vessel and breaking loose. The clot can travel along the bloodstream and clog another vessel elsewhere in the body. Depending on where that happens, the clot can lead to a limb problem, stroke or blockage in a lung artery, among others.

The EMA's Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee (PRAC) is currently investigating the four cases to determine whether the blood clots were really caused by the vaccine. The regulator will then decide if further regulatory action is necessary based on the committee's findings.

Along with the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, the J&J jab is among the three COVID-19 shots used in the United States. Last month, the EMA authorized it for use in EU member countries but a rollout has yet to begin. The jab differs from other coronavirus shots in that it requires only a single dose. Others, such as the Moderna and Pfizer jabs, require two doses.


AstraZeneca vaccine potentially linked to another blood disorder

The EMA said in the same announcement that the AstraZeneca COVID-19 shot (Vaxzevria) remains under review over five reports of capillary leak syndrome developing in people who received the jab.

Capillary leak syndrome is a rare blood disorder that causes a sharp and potentially fatal drop in blood pressure. In people with the disorder, fluid leaks from small blood vessels called capillaries, causing tissues to swell and drastically reducing blood pressure. If left untreated, capillary leak syndrome can lead to organ failure and death.

The cases were first reported in EudraVigilance, a European database of suspected adverse reactions to medicines. The PRAC is now investigating if Vaxzevria can cause the condition. As with the J&J vaccine, the EMA will decide whether further action is necessary based on the committee's recommendation.

Previously, the PRAC was reviewing blood clot cases tied to Vaxzevria. It determined that the condition accompanied with low levels of blood platelets should be listed as "very rare" side effects of the vaccine. The EMA warned that people could develop these conditions within two weeks of getting inoculated with the jab. (Related: Researchers confirm antibodies from the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine cause blood clots.)

This came after multiple blood clot reports prompted at least 18 countries to suspend the use of the vaccine. Denmark was the first to order a suspension after a person inoculated with the jab died from the condition. Other countries like Norway, Iceland, Bulgaria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ireland, the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Spain and France then followed suit.

Most of these countries eventually resumed the rollout of the vaccine but became more careful due to the reports. For instance, Italy, Spain, Germany, France and the Netherlands started prohibiting the use of the jab in older people. Germany and France also recommended that people who had a first dose of the AstraZeneca jab receive a different vaccine for their follow-up shot.

Learn more about the dangers of the unproven COVID-19 vaccines at

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