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Photo: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) said Tuesday that unusual blood clots should be listed as a "very rare" side effect of Johnson & Johnson's coronavirus vaccine, but that the benefits of the shot still outweigh the risks.

Why it matters: The agency's determination of a "possible link" to a rare kind of blood clot comes ahead of an expected ruling by the U.S. FDA this week on whether to lift its pause on the J&J vaccine rollout.

Details: Since the J&J vaccine has not yet been distributed in Europe outside of clinical trials, the data that the EMA reviewed came from the eight reports of rare blood clots reported in the U.S. out of 7 million total doses administered.

  • "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," the EMA said in a statement.
  • The agency recently made a similar recommendation about the AstraZeneca vaccine, determining that the benefits of its protection against COVID-19 outweigh the risks of rare blood clots.

Between the lines: Most Americans support the pause in distribution of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, and so far there's no evidence that it's leading to broader vaccine hesitancy, according to the latest installment of the Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

Go deeper

Jul 29, 2021 - Health

The billion-dollar COVID booster discussion

A third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine could add billions of dollars in extra revenue for Pfizer. Photo: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Pfizer said yesterday that it expects to sell nearly $34 billion worth of coronavirus vaccines this year — and there could be billions more behind that, if people who have gotten the shot ultimately need boosters.

Why it matters: It's unclear whether, when and for whom a coronavirus vaccine booster will be necessary. Pfizer has a lot of money riding on those answers, and executives are already making the case that many Americans will need a third dose.

Jul 29, 2021 - Health

Israel to offer third COVID vaccine dose to people over 60

A woman receives her third dose of COVID19 vaccine at Sheba Medical Center on July 14, 2021 in Israel. Photo: Amir Levy/Getty Images

Israel will begin offering a third shot of the coronavirus vaccine to people over the age of 60 starting Sunday, Haaretz reports.

Why it matters: Israel will become the first country to begin giving booster shots, per Haaretz. The country will offer doses to those over 60 who received their second dose at least five months ago.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Jul 29, 2021 - Health

Testing our way around the Delta surge

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The recent surge of COVID-19 cases is strengthening the case for more frequent testing.

Why it matters: The more contagious Delta variant threatens the fuller reopening of offices and schools in the fall. But regular testing — especially with cheap and almost instantaneous tests — could help catch cases before they have a chance to spread.