Belgium pauses use of J.&J. shots in younger people, and other news from around the world.


Belgium said on Wednesday that it would pause the use of the Johnson & Johnson shots for people under 41 over clotting concerns after the death of a woman who received the vaccine.

The woman was under 40 and was admitted to the hospital with “severe” clotting and blood platelet deficiency, a statement from a group of regional health authorities said. She died on Friday and had been vaccinated by her employer outside of the country, the statement said.

Supplies of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have been limited in Belgium, the group noted, adding that 80 percent of the doses administered there had been to people over 45 years old.

The group said that the short-term impact of the pause would be “very limited” because it plans to use an uptick in the supply of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines next month to vaccinate 18- to 40-year-olds.

The Johnson & Johnson shot’s single dose gives it a “significant advantage” for vaccinating older people at home and for vulnerable groups like the homeless, the group said, adding that it was awaiting a “more detailed benefit-risk analysis” by the European Medicines Agency.

The United States briefly halted the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in April, citing the risk of blood clots. After ending the pause, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration added a notice on the vaccine’s label saying that most of those who developed the rare clots were women between the ages of 18 and 49, and that the “chance of having this occur is remote.”

In other news from around the world:

  • The Hong Kong police, citing the continuing threat of the coronavirus, rejected a request to hold a march and candlelight vigil to remember those killed in the 1989 crackdown on the Tiananmen protest. Pro-democracy activists said that they believe the authorities used the pandemic as an excuse to block the politically sensitive events, scheduled for May 30 and June 4. The organizers said that they would appeal the decision.

  • Twitter said on Thursday that it had received a notice of noncompliance with India’s information technology laws, in connection with official requests to remove content related to the government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Under Indian law, Twitter’s India executives could face up to seven years in prison if the platform fails to abide by government orders to remove content that it considers subversive or a threat to public order and national security.

  • The state of Victoria, Australia, announced a seven-day lockdown beginning Thursday night to stem a coronavirus outbreak in the northern suburbs of Melbourne. After nearly three months without a new infection, state health officials have detected 26 cases in the cluster.


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