The Danish Health Authority (SST) announced the suspension in a May 3 statement. It said that “the benefits of using the [J&J] COVID-19 vaccine do not outweigh the risk of causing the possible adverse effect [of blood clots.] Therefore, the [SST] will continue the Danish mass vaccination program without the COVID-19 vaccine from Johnson & Johnson.”
The statement noted that the decision to drop the J&J vaccine followed a review of international data conducted by Danish officials. A team of experts also contributed to the vaccine evaluation.
SST Deputy Director General Helene Probst said: “In the midst of an epidemic, this has been a difficult decision to make – especially since we have also had to discontinue using the COVID-19 vaccine from AstraZeneca. However, taking the present situation in Denmark into account, what we are currently losing in our effort to prevent severe illness from COVID-19 cannot outweigh the risk of causing possible side effects.”
In mid-April, the Nordic country said it would no longer use the AstraZeneca vaccine for its immunization program. The Danish health agency announced the ban in an April 14 statement on its website. “Based on the scientific findings, our overall assessment is that there is a real risk of severe side effects associated with using the COVID-19 vaccine from AstraZeneca. We have, therefore, decided to remove the vaccine from our vaccination program,” SST Director General Søren Brostrøm said.
Both the AstraZeneca and J&J shot utilize an adenovirus vector to induce an immune response. However, the AstraZeneca vaccine requires two doses for protection while the J&J vaccine calls for only one dose.