EU drug regulator to issue view on J&J vaccine next week

FILE PHOTO: A vial and sryinge are seen in front of a displayed Johnson&Johnson logo in this illustration taken January 11, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

(Reuters) -Europe's drug regulator said on Wednesday it planned to issue a recommendation on Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine next week, but that it continued to believe the benefits of the shot outweighed the risks of side effects.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is reviewing a small number of cases in the United States of very rare blood clotting disorders among people who had received the J&J vaccine.

The agency also said J&J had recommended EU member states hold on to the doses they had already received until the watchdog's safety committee issues its recommendation.

J&J said on Tuesday it would "proactively delay" the rollout of its vaccine in Europe, after U.S. federal health agencies recommended pausing its use for at least a few days after six women under the age of 50 developed rare blood clots after receiving the shot.

The vaccine was authorised in the European Union on March 11 but widespread use in the bloc has not yet started, trailing a rollout in the United States.

Investigations into rare blood clots linked to AstraZeneca's shot have already hobbled Europe's vaccine rollout. Denmark said on Wednesday it would drop AstraZeneca's vaccine, which is similar to J&J's, over the risk.

(Reporting by Yadarisa Shabong in Bengaluru, Ludwig Burger in Frankfurt; Editing by Aditya Soni and Mark Potter)

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