Immunologist reacts to 'possible link' between Johnson & Johnson vaccine and blood clots

20 April 2021, 18:15

By Sam Sholli

An immunologist has told LBC "our real enemy is the virus" in response to the European Medicines Agency finding a "possible link" between Johnson & Johnson's Janssen Covid vaccine and very rare blood clots.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA)'s safety committee has said unusual blood clots with low blood platelets should be listed as a "very rare" side effect of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

However, the EMA has also concluded that the overall benefits of the Janssen vaccine "outweigh the risks of side effects".

Speaking of the EMA's finding, Danny Altmann, who is Professor of Immunology at Imperial College London told LBC: "It does look like a thing.

"It's a thing in one in many hundreds of thousands, towards one in a million. And we can now identify it, be aware of it and mitigate it.

"But our real enemy is the virus, and we all want to get out of this mess."

Professor Altmann said the EMA's announcement is "going to worry people" but encouraged people "to do the arithmetic and be sensible".

In a statement, the EMA explained: "Healthcare professionals and people who will receive the vaccine should be aware of the possibility of very rare cases of blood clots combined with low levels of blood platelets occurring within three weeks of vaccination.

"Covid-19 is associated with a risk of hospitalisation and death. The reported combination of blood clots and low blood platelets is very rare, and the overall benefits of Covid-19 Vaccine Janssen in preventing Covid-19 outweigh the risks of side effects."

Johnson & Johnson's Janssen vaccine hasn't yet been approved for use in the UK.

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