Slovenia halts Johnson & Johnson vaccinations after death
Slovenia announced on Tuesday it would no longer use the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine after experts confirmed a 20-year-old died earlier this year because of the jab.
The Alpine EU member suspended vaccinations with Johnson & Johnson in September after the woman died of a brain haemorrhage and blood clots just days after getting vaccinated.
An expert commission confirmed in a report that the woman suffered a rare blood clotting condition, known as vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia.
"The temporary suspension of vaccinations with Janssen (produced by Johnson & Johnson), in force until now, will become permanent," Health Minister Janez Poklukar told a news conference after the commission published its findings.
Vaccinations with AstraZeneca, which uses viral vector technology like Johnson & Johnson and has also been linked to rare blood clots, "most likely" will also be discontinued, according to Bojana Beovic, who heads the group advising the government on vaccinations.
The woman's death in September reportedly was the country's second case linked to Johnson & Johnson after the wife of a Slovenian diplomat based in Paris died in May, days after being vaccinated.
With over 16 million Johnson & Johnson's vaccine doses being administrated in the European Union until the end of October, six deaths linked to the jab have been confirmed, according to the Slovenian authorities.
Since September thousands have attended protests in Slovenia against coronavirus restrictions and plans to make vaccination mandatory.
Some 54 percent of the country's two million people have been fully vaccinated, below the EU-wide rate of 68 percent.
© 2021 AFP