All 50 US states on Tuesday halted the administering of the Johnson & Johnson covid vaccine upon recommendation from the FDA and CDC over several rare cases of a serious blood clotting issue that may be connected to the vaccine.
Lakewood’s CHEMED announced that they canceled all vaccine appointments for the J&J vaccine after New Jersey ordered a halt to the vaccines, but they are still administering Pfizer and Moderna vaccines by the hundreds each day. The Ocean County Health Department also canceled scheduled appointments to get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and offered those whose appointments were canceled vaccines from the other two major companies.
Since then, several readers who received the J&J vaccine have reached out to TLS for information regarding the blood-clotting issue and whether they should be concerned. Below is the most up-to-date information.
So far, health officials have identified 6 people – all women – who experienced a rare type of blood clot called cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, or CVST, on average nine days after receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The symptoms of the blood clots can include leg pain, abdominal pain, shortness of breath, and severe headaches. The women, all between the ages of 18 and 48, had no known underlying health conditions. One of the women died and another was hospitalized in critical condition over the condition. Despite all those affected being female, it is not yet known whether females are more susceptible to this side effect or whether the side effect is even related to the vaccine at all. As of today, only 6 people out of 6.8 million who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have been reported as having experienced blood clotting afterward.
Despite the low incidence of blood clotting issues, doctors are warning people to be on the lookout for symptoms of it, as rapid treatment is crucial. Treatment of CVST is different than other blood-clotting disorders, many of which are treated with the drug Heparin, but which can be dangerous when attempting to treat CVST.
A top CDC official said that it is too early to tell whether certain subsets of the population are more prone to getting these blood clots and that the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices needs time to review the available, and sparse, data.
Officials say that, out of 180 million-plus Pfizer and Moderna vaccines that have been administered, they have not yet seen any incidents of blood clotting.
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are completely different than the Johnson & Johnson vaccines. New mRNA technology is used in the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, whereas the Johnson & Johnson is a more classic viral vector vaccine, using the same technology used in other, common vaccines.