Spain starts administering one-shot J&J vaccine
Jab offered to 70- to 79-year-olds, even though it is still on hold in many countries
Spain became one of the first European countries to begin administering the one-shot Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine on Thursday.
The vaccine had been sitting in storage for more than a week after US regulatory bodies recommended halting the jab to study rare blood clots.
But the European Medicines Agency (EMA) gave the vaccine the greenlight on Tuesday. Experts acknowledged there may be a link between rare blood clots and the jab but insisted the benefits far outweigh the risk.
Spain has begun giving the jab to those aged 70-79, although the vaccine has not been approved only for that group. In contrast, Spanish officials have only approved the AstraZeneca vaccine for those in their 60s.
Other European countries, including Germany, France, the Netherlands, and Greece are set to begin administering the J&J jab in the coming days.
Spain has received 146,000 J&J doses and has ordered 17.6 million through to the third quarter of 2021.
The one-dose shot is an important arsenal in the country's fight against coronavirus infections that are on the rise.
The Health Ministry reported on Thursday 10,814 new cases, 1,151 more than the same day last week.
The situation in the Basque Country continues to deteriorate, with the northern region breaking a recent record for new infections.
In Madrid, 44% of all available intensive care units are now in use by COVID-19 patients.
Another 132 people also lost their lives to the disease, bringing the coronavirus death toll to nearly 77,500 in Spain.