EU’s drug watchdog recommends new product warning for Astra & J&J - ‘very rare’ neurological spinal cord condition

The PRAC has recommended a change to the product information for Vaxzevria and COVID-19 Vaccine Janssen to include a warning to raise awareness among healthcare professionals and people receiving the vaccines of very rare cases of transverse myelitis ™ reported following vaccination. TM has also been added as an adverse reaction of unknown frequency.

TM is a rare neurological condition characterised by an inflammation of one or both sides of the spinal cord. It can cause weakness in the arms or legs, sensory symptoms (such as tingling, numbness, pain or loss of pain sensation) or problems with bladder or bowel function.

The Committee has reviewed available information on globally reported cases, including those in the European database for suspected side effects (EudraVigilance) and data from the scientific literature, with both vaccines2. The PRAC has concluded that a causal relationship between these two vaccines and transverse myelitis is at least a reasonable possibility. The benefit-risk profile of both vaccines remains unchanged.

Healthcare professionals should be alert to signs and symptoms of TM, allowing early diagnosis, supportive care and treatment. People receiving either of these vaccines are advised to seek immediate medical attention if they develop symptoms of the condition.

EMA will continue to closely monitor this issue and will communicate further if new information becomes available.

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