(Reuters) -U.S. federal health agencies on Tuesday recommended pausing the use of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine after six women under 50 given the shot developed rare blood clots, dealing a fresh setback to efforts to tackle the pandemic.
Following the news, Johnson & Johnson (J&J) said it was delaying the rollout of the vaccine to Europe, a week after regulators there said they were reviewing rare blood clots in four recipients of the shot in the United States.
The moves come after European regulators said earlier this month they had found a possible link between AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine and a similar rare blood clotting problem that led to a small number of deaths.
J&J’s single dose vaccine – most COVID-19 shots are delivered over two doses – and AstraZeneca’s low-cost vaccine are seen as vital tools in the fight against a pandemic that has claimed more than three million lives.
The White House said the pause would not have a “significant” impact on its plan to administer about three million shots per day and a total of 200 million shots before President Joe Biden’s 100th day in office.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said one person had died from the rare blood clotting condition after taking the J&J vaccine and another was in a critical condition.