US to resume J&J COVID vaccinations despite rare clot risk

US to resume J&J COVID vaccinations despite rare clot risk
Source: AP
2 Min Read

Daily US Times: US health officials lifted an 11-day pause on coronavirus vaccinations using Johnson & Johnson’s (J&J) single-dose shot on Friday, after experts decided its benefits outweigh a rare risk of blood clot.

The US government uncovered 15 vaccine recipients who developed a rare kind of blood clot out of nearly 8 million people given the J&J shot. All were women and most of them under age 50. Three died, and seven still remain hospitalized.

But ultimately, federal health officials decided that J&J’s one-dose vaccine is critical to fight the coronavirus pandemic — and that the small clot risk could be handled with warnings to help younger women decide if they should use that shot or an alternative.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said the J&J Covid-19 vaccine has important advantages for some people who were anxiously awaiting its return.

And the US Food and Drug Administration updated online vaccine information leaflets for would-be recipients and health workers, so that vaccination could resume as early as Saturday.

FDA Acting Commissioner Janet Woodcock told reporters late Friday that this is not a decision the agencies reached lightly.

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of CDC, added that the pause should increase confidence in vaccine safety, showing “that we are taking every one of those needles in a haystack that we find seriously.”

The US decision comes after advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention debated in a daylong meeting just how serious the risk really is.

Panelists voted 10-4 to resume the Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine without outright age restrictions, but made clear that the shots must come with clear warnings about the clots.

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