HEALTH authorities across Spain are divided over how to use the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine after the “very rare risk” it causes blood clots.
The vaccine – like the AstraZeneca inoculation before it – has been cleared by the European Medicines Agency which ruled benefits in immunisation against Covid-19 outweigh the risk of thrombosis.
As the speed of vaccination picks up in Spain, some regions want Janssen to be used on groups younger than 60, others want to restrict use to those aged over 60.
At present, immunisation of the over 80s is almost complete, half of those aged over 70 have received a dose, and 40% of people aged between 60 and 69 have had a shot of AstraZeneca.
Government health minister Carolina Darias said as Janssen – it is manufactured by a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson – arrives in bulk, people aged between 70 and 79 will receive the shot but the doses will be “prioritised but not limited” to the age group.
Her ministry’s data shows 6.1 million people aged between 50 and 59 still need a jab, while 16 million aged from 25 to 49 have yet to be vaccinated.
Medical experts believe the likely approach would be to use the more controversial vaccines in the older groups first before analysing the data regarding adverse reactions and making any policy changes.
However, they agree the benefits outweigh the risks. One said: “While there is capacity for vaccination and there are no doses left over from other manufacturers, the priority should be to move as fast as possible.”