Denmark to reconsider exclusion of J&J and AstraZeneca shots

FILE PHOTO: Test tubes are seen in front of a displayed AstraZeneca logo in this illustration
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COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Denmark's government on Monday asked the country's health authorities to reconsider a decision to exclude Johnson & Johnson's and AstraZeneca's COVID-19 shots from its vaccination programme.

The move was prompted by a two-week delay in the Danish vaccination programme to September due to delivery of fewer Moderna and CureVac vaccines than expected, Health Minister Magnus Heunicke said.

Denmark excluded the J&J and AstraZeneca vaccines over a potential link to a rare but serious form of blood clot.

"We are now further into the epidemic, and the vaccines from Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca have now been in use in Europe for some time, Heunicke said.

"There is a larger data base worldwide to assess the effect and side effects of the vaccines," he said.

The health authority found in early May that the benefits of using the COVID-19 vaccines did not outweigh the risk of causing the possible adverse effect in those who receive the vaccine.

Excluding the J&J vaccine, which accounts for around a third of Denmark's total contracted supplies of COVID-19 shots, delayed the country's vaccination calendar by up to four weeks, the health authority said.

Denmark had vaccinated 21% of its population as of Monday.

(Reporting by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen; editing by David Evans and Giles Elgood)