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U.S. health officials on Tuesday recommended pausing Johnson & Johnson’s COVID shot over fear of blood clots. The company was quick to announce that it was delaying its rollout in Europe, which would set back global vaccination campaigns.
Out of nearly seven million Americans who have received the single-dose vaccine to date, six women between the ages of 18 and 48 developed a rare type of blood clot in the brain along with low platelets.
One later died while another is in critical condition.
Peter Marks, a scientist with the Food and Drug Administration, said the disorder could be triggered by a rare immune response to the vaccine, similar to that seen in a few hundred recipients of the AstraZeneca sting in Europe.
Both vaccines are based on adenovirus vector technology.
“We made the decision to proactively delay the rollout of our vaccine in Europe,” J&J said in a new blow to the hard-hit continent that has passed the one million death line from coronavirus.
The European Union has signed a contract for 200 million vaccine shots with an option for an additional 200 million.
The US authorities are currently conducting an investigation that could lead to difficult regulatory decisions, such as restricting the J&J shot to subsets of the population.
People who received a J&J shot in the past three weeks were asked to report to their doctors if they had severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath.
However, the White House said it was confident there would be no “significant impact” on the vaccination schedule in the hardest-hit country in the world, where nearly half of all adults have now received at least one dose.
Jeff Zients, President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 response coordinator, said a huge excess in deliveries of two more vaccines – Pizer and Moderna – meant the country could easily fill the gap.
According to an AFP balance, more than 800 million vaccine doses have now been administered worldwide.
India – which is seeing record increases in some cases – received a boost when it approved Russian drug Sputnik V COVID-19.
The total number of virus deaths is approaching three million as the World Health Organization warned that infections are increasing exponentially, despite efforts to stop them.
Muslims around the world began Ramadan after religious leaders confirmed that the month of fasting would begin on Tuesday. Many countries are facing virus restrictions.
Jakarta’s newly renovated Istiqlal Mosque – the largest in Southeast Asia – welcomed believers for the first time after more than a year of closure due to the pandemic.
Mohamad Fathi, a resident of the Indonesian capital, told AFP this year’s Ramadan is happier than 2020.
“This year I am so happy that we can finally go to the mosque to offer Tarawih prayers in the mosque, even though we are subject to a strict health protocol during prayer.”
Mosques in the world’s most populous Muslim majority nation can only accommodate people with a maximum capacity of 50 percent. Worshipers must wear masks and bring their own prayer mats.
Saudi Arabia, home of Islam’s holiest shrines, announced that the holy month of fasting would begin on Tuesday, despite authorities saying that only people vaccinated against COVID-19 will undertake the year-round Umrah pilgrimage from the start of Ramadan allowed to.
Coronavirus restrictions angered some worshipers in the Kazakh capital of Nur-Sultan.
“For example, this year we won’t have (big) iftars. And we can’t have a lot of people in the mosque. We have to queue and wait,” said 30-year-old Toparkhan Bergenov.
India gets Sputnik
Pakistanis will not begin fasting until Wednesday after rival moon-sighting committees approve a nationally applied start of the holy month.
With the country struck by a third wave of the coronavirus – the deadliest to date – the government urged mosques to only allow prayers in open courtyards and strictly enforce social distancing.
But shoppers flocked to the markets on the Tuesday before the fast, causing some fears.
In neighboring India, health officials have faced a huge spike in cases in recent weeks, leading to nightly curfews and restrictions on exercise and activity.
The country of 1.3 billion people reported more than 161,000 new cases on Monday – the seventh day in a row that more than 100,000 infections were recorded.
Experts have warned that huge, mostly maskless crowds at political rallies and religious festivals have fueled India’s fall load, and maskless Hindu pilgrims have ignored social distancing requests in the Himalayan city of Haridwar.
Pandemic grows “exponentially”
In Europe, Germany agreed to controversial changes to a national infection control law and gave Berlin more power to take stricter measures.
These measures include a curfew from 9:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. and stricter rules for private gatherings and sports.
Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO technical lead on COVID-19, said the world is now at a “critical point” in the pandemic.
“The course of this pandemic is growing … exponentially,” she added.
The organization also called for the sale of live wild mammals in food markets to stop to help prevent new diseases such as coronavirus from developing.
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© 2021 AFP
Quote: The US suspends the J&J vaccine as part of the global vaccination campaign (2021, April 13), which will be released on April 13, 2021 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-04-jj-vaccine-global- immunization.html was obtained
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