Suspension of Johnson & Johnson vaccines will not affect inoculation rollout

Greece suspended inoculations with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine due to begin Monday, head of the National Vaccination Committee Maria Theodoridou told a regular live briefing, pending European and United States agency reviews.

“We should wait for the conclusions of both the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA),” added the member of the health ministry’s committee of coronavirus experts.

She said that health authorities in the US are looking into 6 cases of thrombosis out of a total of 7 million vaccinations carried out in the country with the Johnson & Johnson vaccιne. The people affected were women aged 18 to 48, she noted.

Theodoridou also cited data according to which 9 in 10 deaths in Greece involved people who had not been vaccinated, while only a small number of fatalities concerned patients who had been vaccinated with both doses of a vaccine.

Suspension will not stall vaccine rollout

Putting on hold the 33,600 doses of Johnson & Johnson’s single-shot vaccine Greece has received will not have a significant impact on the country’s unfolding national vaccination program, said Health Secretary General for Primary Health Care Marios Themistokleous at the briefing.

Only a small quantity of this specific vaccine was delivered to Greece, he pointed out, as part of the batch Greece expected from Johnson & Johnson until mid-May. Another 300,000 doses, however, are scheduled for delivery in May, with some 960,000 in June. Greece is also vaccinating with Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca, and Moderna vaccines.

In terms of vaccinations in general, 16.75 pct of the country’s population (or 1.76 million) has been administered at least the first dose of vaccines and 7.45 pct (or 770,000) have received both doses, said the health official.

He also noted that next due for appointments were people aged 55-59 and teachers, who can begin registering online as of Wednesday.

Those aged 50-54 will begin registrations for appointments on Saturday, he added.