Starting today, the Johnson and Johnson (Janssen) vaccine will no longer be valid for Austria’s vaccine passport.
This comes after the Austrian government received more data that suggests a single jab of the J&J vaccine has lower effectiveness against the surging Omicron variant than other options. The 260,000 Austrians who received the vaccine will need to get a different booster to be considered fully vaccinated.
The Janssen vaccine is largely falling out of favor, with Finland, Denmark and Slovenia announcing a stoppage of its use. Furthermore, the CDC recently discouraged the usage of the vaccine in favor of other options when further evidence surfaced that it can cause a rare blood clot disorder.
However, South African scientists in collaboration with J&J announced Thursday that a second dose of the jab may actually provide up to 85% protection from the new variant, complicating the decision.
Austria will likely move forward with the decision despite the announcement. The jab still carries a small risk of serious side effects and the mRNA vaccines have fared better against the new variant. Expect more countries in the EU to phase out J&J’s vaccine as more data suggests its inferiority to the mRNA vaccines.
Wake up smarter with an assessment of the stories that will make headlines in the next 24 hours. Download The Daily Brief.
Colin serves on the current developments team as a research analyst. He has previously published research on China and UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Contributing regularly to the Daily Brief, Colin's areas of focus include China, climate change, and ASEAN.