The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday announced a temporarily halt on the usage of Johnson & Johnson’s (JNJ) Covid-19 vaccine after six recipients developed a rare blood clotting disorder.
“Right now, these adverse events appear to be extremely rare,” the FDA said in a joint statement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “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.”
All six recipients who developed the rare blood clotting disorder were women aged between 18 and 48. All of them developed the symptoms within one to three weeks of vaccination. One woman died and a second woman in Nebraska is in critical condition.
Doctors usually treat this type of blood clot with an anticoagulant drug called heparin, however, health regulators have noted that it could be dangerous in this case and recommended a different treatment.
Meanwhile, J&J in a statement said that “no clear causal relationship” has been identified between the blood clots and the vaccine. The company said it is working closely with regulators to assess the data.
People who received the J&J vaccine more than a month ago are at very low risk for developing the blood clots, said Dr. Anne Schuchat, the principal deputy director of the CDC.
“For people who recently got the vaccine within the last couple weeks, they should be aware to look for any symptoms,” she said. “If you’ve received the vaccine and developed severe headaches, abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness of breathe you should contact your healthcare provider and seek medical treatment.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as of April 12, over 6.8 million people in the US have received Johnson & Johnson vaccine. About nine million more doses have been shipped out to the states.
Within hours of the announcement, several states have temporarily stopped giving Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine, including New York, Ohio, Connecticut, and Nebraska.
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