German Health Minister Jens Spahn announced Monday the country was making the single-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine available to all adults, lifting a prioritization that limited the shot only to those 60 and older.
Like the AstraZeneca vaccine before it, Germany had limited the use of the Johnson & Johnson shot after several cases of blood clots were reported among younger recipients of the vaccine.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has said blood clots should be listed as a rare side effect of both the Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca shots but that the benefits continue to outweigh risks. The EMA left it up to individual European nations as to how they would administer the shots.
Spahn told reporters in Berlin they expected deliver of about 10 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in June and July, by which time he expects most Germans 60 and older will have been vaccinated. The nation lifted a similar restriction on the AstraZeneca vaccine last week.
Spahn said the government will also decide this week on lifting quarantine requirements on fully vaccinated people returning to Germany from travel abroad. Spahn said he anticipates there will be exceptions for those returning from places where virus variants are prevalent.
The health minister said the country is also considering lifting restrictions on outdoor gatherings and events where the incidence rate of COVID-19 infections has fallen below the threshold of 100 per 100,000 people. He said outdoor restaurants, bars and possibly spectator sports like soccer could be allowed, with the proper testing in place.