First batch of Johnson & Johnson Covid vaccines arrive in Netherlands
The first 79,200 doses of a vaccine developed in Leiden by Janssen, a pharmaceutical firm owned by Johnson and Johnson, arrived at a warehouse in Oss on Monday. It is not yet known when the Janssen vaccine will be administered for the first time.
The cabinet already announced that 35,000 doses will be allocated to hospital workers which have been facing high levels of sick leave. That has resulted in an abnormally high amount of pressure on the Dutch hospital system, already burdened with a high Covid-19 patient total. According to national healthcare coordinator LCPS, 18.5 percent of the country's 13,656 hospital patients has the coronavirus disease.
The Dutch Health Council recommends that Janssen's vaccine is first given to people over 60 and those from groups at high-risk of developing serious symptoms from Covid-19. This concerns, for example, people with Down's syndrome, obesity or with neurological disorders that can lead to breathing problems. Once those groups have been vaccinated, the vaccine can be given to other groups as well.
The Janssen vaccine offers 66 percent protection against the disease and 85 percent protection against more severe forms of Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. Unlike other vaccine types, the Janssen vaccine only requires one shot.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) said there have been four reports of people who developed blood clots and low platelet counts (thrombocytopenia) after being given the Janssen jab. According to the EMA, this number is within the expected range. One of the four people died but it has not yet been confirmed whether there is a direct link to the vaccine.
The American regulator (FDA) reported on Friday that someone who received the Janssen vaccine died and suffered from the same condition of blood clots accompanied by a low platelet count that occurred with the AstraZeneca vaccine. The health authorities in the United States have not yet established a clear link between the two.
It is the fourth coronavirus vaccine made available in the Netherlands. Previously, the vaccines from Pfizer / BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca have been approved, with the latter having been suspended for use by people under 60. This was over reports of eight blood clots with low platelet counts in women in the Netherlands, including one fatality.
After a review of similar cases in the European Union, the EMA determined that the syndrome should be considered a rare side effect of the AstraZeneca vaccine.