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France says to administer J&J COVID-19 vaccine as planned

PARIS, April 14 (Reuters) - France will use Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine as planned despite its suspension in the United States, a government spokesman said on Wednesday, adding France had received a first shipment of 200,000 doses.

“The doses, which arrived earlier this week, are being shipped to city general practitioners and to chemists,” government spokesman Gabriel Attal told reporters.

France expects to receive 600,000 doses of the J&J vaccine by the end of the month, according to health ministry data.

After what critics depicted as a slow start, authorities are aiming to speed up France’s vaccination drive with the target of 30 million people having received at leat one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by mid-June.

U.S. federal health agencies on Tuesday recommended pausing the use of the J&J shot after six women under the age of 50 developed rare blood clots after receiving it, in a fresh setback to efforts to tackle the pandemic. J&J also said it would delay rollout of the vaccine to Europe.

The halt follows restrictions imposed by many European countries on using an alternative vaccine from AstraZeneca , in response to similar reports of rare blood clotting among a very small number of recipients. (Reporting by Matthias Blamont. Editing by Mark Potter)

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