Following federal recommendations to pause use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, an independent body of medical and public health experts will examine reports of six women who developed rare but severe blood clots after receiving the vaccine.
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The Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices, which develops vaccination guidelines for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will work to determine what patterns may exist between these six reports and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which has been administered to 6.8 million people so far in the U.S.
Federal regulators said a pause on use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was needed “out of an abundance of caution” when reports of the blood clots emerged. On Tuesday, Dr. Janet Woodcock, acting commissioner for the Food and Drug Administration, said she expected the pause “to be a matter of days” while investigators review the significance of these blood clots. By the end of the day Tuesday, every state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico had announced a pause in injections of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, according to the New York Times.
On Feb. 27, the FDA authorized the single-shot vaccine for emergency use. Since then, the vaccine has made up less than 5 percent of the U.S. coronavirus vaccine rollout, according to Jeff Zients, coordinator for the White House COVID-19 Task Force.
Among the six reported cases of blood clots, one woman has died and another was hospitalized and in serious condition. While tragic, those cases remain far less common than the coronavirus itself, which so far has killed one out of 588 people in the U.S.