U.S. Will Pause Use of J&J Vaccine After Rare Complications
The FDA and CDC are calling for an "immediate pause" in the administering of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the federal government announced early Tuesday.
Federal officials say that six cases of a very rare but severe blood clot have been reported within two weeks of receiving the one-dose vaccine in the United States. All of the six people developing the blood clots were women between the ages of 18 and 48. One woman has died, reports say.
It's estimated that 6.8 million Americans have already received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, and about 9 million more supplies shipped to vaccine sites throughout the country.
“We are recommending a pause in the use of this vaccine out of an abundance of caution,” Dr. Peter Marks, director of the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, and Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the C.D.C., said in a joint statement. “Right now, these adverse events appear to be extremely rare.”
New Jersey Suspends Use of the J&J Vaccine
The announcement calls for federal vaccination clinics to stop using the vaccine, but it was not immediately clear how individual states will implement the decision.
In our area, however, the New Jersey Department of Health says they will pause the administration of the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine across the state.
"All New Jersey vaccination sites have been told to cancel or put on hold appointments for the J&J vaccine until further notice," the New Jersey Department of Health said on Tuesday. "For individuals scheduled to receive the J&J vaccine, the Department will work with all vaccination sites to make arrangements for the administration of an alternative two-dose vaccine. We will work with all sites, as needed, to reschedule vaccination appointments."
Panel Will Convene Tomorrow For Next Steps
As for what's next across the country, the CDC will convene an advisory meeting on Wednesday to review these cases and make further decisions, the FDA said in Tuesday's statement.
"CDC will convene a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) on Wednesday to further review these cases and assess their potential significance," they said in a statement on Tuesday.
What To Expect If You've Already Received a J&J Vaccine
"Right now, these adverse events appear to be extremely rare," the CDC emphasized in Tuesday's announcement. "COVID-19 vaccine safety is a top priority for the federal government, and we take all reports of health problems following COVID-19 vaccination very seriously."
So if you've received the vaccine, it's important to note that these rare cases were reported within three weeks of receiving the vaccine. So what should you be on the lookout for?
"People who have received the J&J vaccine who develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination should contact their health care provider," the federal government said on Tuesday.