Janssen Covid vaccine will continue to be used in Netherlands; Belgium limits use
The Netherlands does not plan to set an age limit regarding the use of the Janssen Covid-19 vaccine for the time being, the Ministry of Health told the newswire ANP. The decision comes after the government of Belgium announced on Wednesday it would halt use of the jab for people under 41 following the death of a woman who developed severe thrombosis with a low platelet count after injection.
There have been no severe side effects linked to the vaccine in the Netherlands, side effect research center Lareb told NOS. In extremely rare cases, Janssen's vaccine can cause the combination of severe thrombosis and a decreased number of blood platelets. Though it can be treated, it can also lead to fatalities.
The vaccine was developed by Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Janssen at their laboratory in Leiden. It is currently being used for people of all ages in the Netherlands. The Ministry of Health explained it would only reconsider its current guidance on the use of the vaccine if relevant advisory bodies like the Dutch Health Council, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the Medicines Evaluation Board (MEB) produces new guidelines.
Their guidance is crucial when the Netherlands approves use of different Covid-19 vaccines for various groups of people. “Of course we are keeping an eye on what is happening around us. EMA, MEB and Health Council are doing the same,” said a spokesperson for the Dutch Ministry of Health to NOS.
The EMA said they were aware of the most recent case in Belgium in which a woman, who was under the age of 40, died after being admitted to the hospital with the blood clot disorder. A spokesperson for the agency confirmed EMA's special monitoring committee is constantly investigating reports of adverse reactions.
“The reports from Belgium are included in this. We are also keeping an eye on it, but we cannot do much with it at the moment. The possible side effects are already known and can be found in the package leaflet."
The EMA previously concluded that the benefits of this Covid-19 jab outweigh the risks.