Johnson & Johnson doses held up by Health Canada

James Marshall
May 4, 2021

The single-shot vaccine is critical to Allen County's efforts to bring shots to vulnerable and hard-to-reach populations, as the shot only requires one dose and can be stored at normal temperatures that make it easier to transport.

No J&J doses have been injected in Canada thus far, but in the US they have documented 17 cases of the blood-clotting disorder in about eight million doses given.

France began administering the J&J vaccine on 24 April.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has said of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine that the benefits "outweigh its risks in adults of all age groups; however, very rare cases of blood clots with low blood platelets have occurred following vaccination".

The vaccine is DNA based, like AstraZeneca, and different from the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines that are mRNA vaccines.

For reasons linked to extremely rare blood clotting issues, the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are only being given to patients aged over 55.

The FDA halted production of the vaccines at a USA manufacturing plant owned by Emergent BioSolutions earlier this month as it investigates an error that led to millions of doses being ruined in March.

Health Canada is holding off on distributing the first shipment of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine after it became clear the doses that arrived on Wednesday were processed in the same US plant that's been mired in quality-control problems.

Those shots will only be released for distribution once Health Canada ensures they've met its "high standards for quality, safety and efficacy", the federal department said in a statement Friday evening. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has since ordered the facility to stop making more J&J vaccines until it addresses the violations and manufacturing errors, which resulted in 15 millions of those doses being destroyed, the report said.

The vaccines arrived from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health's distribution.

Health Canada's pause on the J&J shot is a setback for the country's efforts to continue ramping up vaccinations amid a raging third wave of the pandemic.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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