Poland offers to buy J&J shots from Denmark

FILE PHOTO: Logo of healthcare company Johnson & Johnson is seen in Zug
·2 min read

WARSAW (Reuters) -Poland has offered to buy Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines from Denmark, a government spokesman said on Wednesday, after Copenhagen excluded the shots from its vaccination programme over a potential link to blood clots.

Some central European countries including Poland are eager to speed up their vaccination programmes following procurement delays, in some cases adopting a less cautious attitude than countries such as Denmark.

On Monday Denmark became the first country to exclude J&J's vaccine. Last month it also stopped using AstraZeneca's vaccine, citing similar concerns.

Czech Deputy Prime Minister Jan Hamacek announced on Twitter in April he had instructed the Czech ambassador to Dennmark to seek to buy all that country's unwanted AstraZeneca supplies.

Polish authorities say the risks of delaying the vaccination programme outweigh any risks associated with the shots.

"Poland expressed such a willingness (to buy up the J&J shots)... The prime minister sent a letter to the prime minister of Denmark on the subject of these vaccines allowed for use on the European market," spokesman Piotr Muller told Reuters by telephone, confirming a report from Polsat News.

Muller added that Poland was ready to buy any vaccines authorised for use in the European Union, including AstraZeneca.

Earlier, Polsat had quoted Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki as saying in his letter to his Danish counterpart: "If Denmark decides to resell some of its stocks (of J&J shots), Poland is ready to buy these vaccines."

The office of Denmark's Prime Minister was not immediately able to comment on the matter.

Europe's drug regulator said on April 20 it had found a possible link between J&J's vaccine and rare blood clotting issues in adults who received doses in the United States. But it backed the vaccine's overall benefits against any risks.

Poland, the largest country in the European Union's eastern wing, has so far fully vaccinated over 3.1 million people out of a population of around 38 million.

(Reporting by Alan Charlish and Anna Wlodarczak-Semczuk in Warsaw, Nikolaj Skydsgaard in Copenhagen, Michael Kahn in Prague, editing by Gareth Jones, William Maclean)