The World Health Organization (WHO) will await and subsequently monitor safety reviews of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine conducted by national medical agencies after US regulators recommended a pause in the vaccine’s use following reports of blood clotting, a WHO representative said on Tuesday.
“We’re watching closely, waiting for EMA [European Medicines Agency] and FDA [US Food and Drug Administration] reviews, and monitoring the global database of adverse event reports to see if there have been cases anywhere else. It will take a little time to review the data,” a WHO representative said in a written statement.
In a follow-up, the WHO representative confirmed that the organization was in close contact with the relevant medical regulators as the review into the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is conducted.
“WHO is monitoring closely and is in close contact with EMA, FDA and other regulators around the world. We look forward to reviewing the findings from the EMA and the US,” the representative said.
WHO’s Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety is monitoring the reports of adverse side effects to the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, and will communicate its findings once an in-house review is concluded, the representative added.
The FDA and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a statement earlier on Tuesday recommending a pause in the use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine following reports that some individuals who received shots of the vaccine developed a rare blood clotting disorder.
Johnson & Johnson said in a press release that it will delay the rollout of its COVID-19 vaccine in Europe as a precautionary measure.
German Social Democrats Support Mandatory COVID-19 Testing of Workers
COVID-19 testing of employees that cannot work from home should be obligatory for German businesses, as it is the best way to prevent the third wave of the pandemic, Katja Mast, the spokeswoman for Germany’s Social Democratic Party (SPD), stated on Tuesday.
“The SPD fully supports mandatory testing in companies. I am glad that [SPD lawmakers] Hubertus Heil and Olaf Scholz pushed it through. I urge all employers to finally give up their opposition and start offering tests,” Mast said, noting that this measure is not a sign of mistrust but an effective step toward preventing the spread of the virus.
According to Mast, those companies that already offer sufficient testing have nothing to fear if the proposition is approved, but those that now refuse to participate will be obligated to join in on the efforts.
Earlier in the day, the Berlin Senate Department for Health told Sputnik that German citizens can do free COVID-19 tests daily upon presenting an ID or insurance certificate. The regulations that came into force in the country on March 8 allow all citizens to take free COVID-19 tests “at least once a week” in special facilities, and the procedures will be compensated by the government starting May.
The German government has also backed a draft law introducing the so-called emergency brake mechanism, which allows setting tougher restrictions in areas with higher infection rates, as the country has been facing a potential third pandemic wave.
On Tuesday, Germany registered over 10,000 new cases of coronavirus infection and 294 deaths over the past 24 hours. The numbers have been steadily rising since the end of February.