Slovenia has temporarily suspended the use of Johnson & Johnson’s (J&J) COVID-19 vaccine after a 20-year-old woman who had recently received the single dose shot died, officials announced on Wednesday.
“According to the notification of a serious adverse event after vaccination Janssen [J&J], members of the advisory group suggest that vaccination with this vaccine be suspended until the situation is clarified,” Health Minister Janez Poklukar said in an official government statement.
The woman, whose identity has been withheld, was hospitalized on Sept. 27 with a severe condition, local media reported. She died of a brain hemorrhage and blood clots on the night of Sept. 28—just days after receiving the single-dose vaccine, according to the reports.
She was the second recipient of the J&J vaccine in Slovenia to have experienced a serious health condition that wasn’t COVID-19, the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, the official STA news agency reported.
“We are all shaken and I wish to express my condolences to the family of the deceased. We concluded at the session of our task force that this incident might have been connected to vaccination and we decided to temporarily halt all vaccination with this particular vaccine,” said Bojana Beović, a government health worker in charge of vaccinations.
The suspension will be in place until experts determine whether there was a link between the woman’s death from a stroke and the vaccine shot she received, Poklukar said.
A large-scale demonstration that involved thousands of citizens erupted Wednesday on the streets of Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia and the country’s largest city, against the latest government-imposed CCP virus restrictions.
At the protest, participants observed a moment of silence for the young woman, saying she wanted to “buy her freedom” by getting the COVID-19 jab after the government announced draconic measures, including mandating COVID-19 vaccine passports for going to work in all state-run firms.
The one-dose jab gained popularity in the Eastern European country after the government introduced the new CCP virus measures.
During the Sept. 29 demonstration, protesters carried banners reading “Stop Corona Fascism” and demanded equal rights for both those who are vaccinated and those who are not.
“I am here for the future, the future of my kids, future generations because this craziness needs to be stopped,” a protester named Katja Zupan said. “If we don’t stand up for ourselves and for mankind, then we are done, we are lost.”
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has currently authorized four COVID-19 vaccines in Slovenia, manufactured by J&J, AstraZeneca, Pfizer/BioNTech, and Moderna.
Poklukar said on Sept. 29 that almost one million people in Slovenia have been fully vaccinated, including 120,000 with the J&J vaccine, explaining he believes that “the benefits of vaccination outweigh the potential risks.”
Slovenia has previously recommended the J&J vaccines to all people over age 18, while some other countries have limited its use to older people.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.