The Federal Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices said Wednesday that the break in the use of Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus vaccine will last at least a week. Dr Anthony Fauci, President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, said on Tuesday that the break would be “days in weeks rather than weeks in months”.
The extended break aims to give scientists time to gather more data before deciding whether to resume using J&J doses to fight Covid-19. Federal officials recommended the break because a rare and severe type of blood clot was found among six of the 7.5 million people who received the shot.
“We still don’t know enough to say whether the vaccine is related to or has caused this health problem,”
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This could be important because, according to the CDC, “both AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines use an adenoviral vector” to deliver instructions in the form of genetic material per cell. “These vaccines are different from the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which are mRNA-based vaccines,” the agency said in a statement. “This type of reaction – blood clots in combination with low platelets – is not seen with Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.”
White House officials were even more specific about the six cases at a news conference on Wednesday.
Some key details:
-All six individuals with these clots are women between the ages of 18 and 48 and their symptoms appear 6 to 13 days after vaccination with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
-The types of blood clots observed, called cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, occur in combination with low platelet levels – or a condition known as thrombocytopenia.
– Reports of cerebral venous sinus thrombosis and thrombocytopenia are similar to reports of thrombotic events with thrombocytopenia observed in Europe following vaccination with AstraZeneca.
-While all cases in the United States occurred in women, in European cases both men and women had blood clots, although they were more common in women.
-Two people with these blood clots in the United States have also had clots in their abdomen or veins of the gastrointestinal tract.
-All six individuals with clots were between 18 and 48 years old.
-Symptoms of cerebral venous sinus thrombosis or other associated severe blood clots may include severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath.
Officials at the WH press conference on Wednesday tried to reassure Americans that “there is enough supply in the Moderna and Pfizer system, including replacing J&J’s appointments with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine.” They noted that in February, President Biden ordered 100 million additional doses from each Pfizer and Moderna, resulting in 600 million doses of these two vaccines alone, sometimes in July. Given that these are two shooting regimes, 600 million doses are enough for 300 million Americans, the majority of the country’s population.