CDC Advisory Group Wants More Data Before Vote On J&J COVID-19 Vaccine’s Blood-Clotting Risk

A syringe is filled with a dose of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine at a vaccination site at Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza on March 11, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Patrick T. FALLON / AFP) (Ph... A syringe is filled with a dose of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine at a vaccination site at Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza on March 11, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Patrick T. FALLON / AFP) (Photo by PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images) MORE LESS

A recommendation by the federal government to pause using Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine will remain in place after an advisory panel put off a vote on how to move as they examine six reports of life-threatening blood clots.

The development, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, comes after U.S. health officials on Tuesday advised that health care providers pause administering J&J’s coronavirus shot after a 45-year-old woman died after receiving the single-shot vaccine. Three others remain in the hospital, and two among that group are in intensive care the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, which advises the CDC on vaccination policy, said Wednesday it needs more information about the risk of the unusual side effects to determine whether the vaccine should be continued, discontinued or recommended only for certain groups. 

The CDC had issued an alert on Tuesday warning health care providers to screen for the blood-clotting condition among patients who recently received the J&J vaccine.

“I do not want to vote on this issue today,” Beth Bell, clinical professor of global health at the University of Washington and a voting member of the committee said, according to WSJ. “I just don’t feel we have enough information to make an evidence-based decision.”

The ACIP had met to review clinical data gathered on six women who developed clots  after receiving J&J’s vaccine.

Bell said the committee needed to clarify just how low the threat is for the blood-clotting condition to effectively weigh the J&J vaccine’s risks and benefits. 

J&J has said the company is “aware of an extremely rare disorder involving people with blood clots in combination with low platelets in a small number of individuals who have received our COVID-19 vaccine,” and is working with health authorities.

White House Covid-19 response coordinator, Jeff Zients said Tuesday that there was “more than enough supply” of the Pfizer and Moderna two-shot vaccines to keep up a  pace of vaccinations of 3 million shots per day, as the matter is examined more closely.

The ACIP is expected to meet again in the coming weeks to revisit the J&J issue.

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