The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Wednesday recommended the use of the Janssen vaccine, manufactured by the pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson, “even in countries where new variants of COVID-19 are circulating”.

The vaccine, approved by the WHO last week, is also the safest for pregnant women, although, as with other licensed brands, the recommendation is only for those in at-risk groups, the organisation said.

These are the recommendations of the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Vaccination (SAGE), who have highlighted the especially recommended use of this vaccine for the elderly and those with chronic diseases, as these are the groups most at risk, despite the fact that it is generally recommended for those over 18 years of age, with no age limit.

On the other hand, this group of experts has also assured Wednesday in a press conference that the incidents of thrombosis cases with the Janssen immuniser “are not enough to not use it”.

During the trials, which involved nearly 44,000 people, 10 of the 22,000 people who received the placebo dose developed a blood clot, or thromboembolic events, while 14 of the remaining 22,000 who were inoculated with a real dose developed a clot.

Referring to countries where new variants of the virus are circulating, the experts recommend that people who have already passed COVID-19 should not wait to be vaccinated if they have access to inoculation.

The last of the experts’ recommendations is that people in settings such as refugee and detention camps, prisons, slums and other densely populated settings, where physical distancing is not possible, should be prioritised for vaccination.

For its part, the World Meteorological Organisation has warned that the onset of spring should not be an excuse to relax prevention measures against the coronavirus and that measures such as face masks, travel restrictions and quarantines are effective as long as meteorological factors, including air quality, do not prevent the spread of the virus.

In fact, “we saw waves of infections increasing in warm seasons and warm regions during the first year of the pandemic, and there is no evidence that this will not happen again this year,” said the co-chair of the research team, Dr Ben Zaitchik.

A report presented by the agency also looks at the potential role of seasonality, picking up the possibility that, in a few years, COVID-19 could become a strongly seasonal disease.


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