Poland still on course to administer Johnson & Johnson vaccine despite confusion

A nurse prepares to administer a COVID-19 vaccine at the Military Institute of Medicine in Warsaw, Poland, 25 March 2021. [EPA-EFE/Leszek Szymanski]

 The uncertainty surrounding the Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine will not affect its distribution in Poland for the time being as the 120,000 doses that arrived in Poland on Wednesday will soon be distributed to vaccination centres.

Concerns about the safety of the vaccine have arisen after two US institutions – the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – issued their recommendations to halt the administration of the product following cases of rare blood clots in six women under 50 among the 6.8 million people who had been administered the jab until last Monday. Although one died and another is in critical condition, it is not certain that the blood clots resulted from the vaccination.

However, since the European Medicines Agency (EMA) announced in a statement that “the benefits of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in preventing COVID-19 outweigh the risk of side effects,” Poland has decided to not change its vaccination programme for the time being and is awaiting further supplies of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Poland will administer the single-dose jab to people who for various reasons such as health-related ones cannot go to vaccination centres alone, the governmental coordinator for the vaccination programme against COVID-19, Michał Dworczyk, has announced. A special team would go to their homes to administer the jab, so as to ensure they can be vaccinated faster.

Poland was also one of the EU countries that in March did not stop administering the AstraZeneca vaccine despite other countries reporting cases of blood clots.

(Anna Wolska | EURACTIV.pl)

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