Slovenia suspends use of Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine while it investigates the death of a 20-year-old woman
LJUBLJANA, Slovenia – Slovenia on Wednesday suspended use of the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine while it investigates the death of a 20-year-old woman, as thousands protested against vaccination and anti-virus measures in the small EU nation. did.
Health Minister Janez Poklukar said the suspension would remain in place until experts determine whether there was a link between the woman’s death from a stroke this week and the vaccine she received two weeks ago.
However, the vaccine’s “benefits outweigh the risks” at this point, Poklukar said.
The one-dose J&J vaccine became more popular after the Slovenian authorities introduced new requirements for COVID-19 passes to operate in all state-run firms. In response to growing demand, the government approved the purchase of an additional 100,000 doses from Hungary.
The woman who died was the second recipient of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in Slovenia to experience a serious health condition, not COVID-19, the official STA news agency reported. About 120,000 people in Slovenia have received the vaccine.
At the protest in the capital Ljubljana, participants observed a moment of silence for the young woman, saying she wanted to “buy her freedom” by getting vaccinated.
The protesters carried banners that read “Stop Corona Fascism” and demanded equal rights for both vaccinated and non-vaccinated people.
Protester Katja Jupan said, “I am here for the future of my children, the future of generations to come because this madness needs to stop.” “If we don’t stand up for ourselves and for the human race, we’re done, we’re lost.”
Riot police were deployed in Wednesday’s protest after clashes at the last gathering. A helicopter took off as the crowd also marched into the city, blocking traffic along the way.
Like much of Central and Eastern Europe, Slovenia has seen an increase in infections in recent weeks. The country of about 2 million people has fully vaccinated about 48% of the population, which is a small proportion compared to many other EU member states.
Slovenia recommends the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for everyone over the age of 18, while some countries limit its use to older people.