Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine: What You Need to Know about Rare Blood Clots

vaccine

The Doctors break down what you need to know about the FDA and the CDC calling for a pause of the Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine.

Why has the single-shot vaccine been passed?

The agencies said the warning was issued due to "an abundance of caution" after six women between the ages of 18 and 48 developed a rare blood clotting disorder after receiving the vaccine. "These adverse events appear to be extremely rare," the FDA said. 

The blood clotting issue is far from common.

As of this week, over 6.8 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine have been given and there have only been 6 reported issues. "What’s being investigated is something that’s extremely rare. ... It’s less than 1 per million,” infectious disease expert Amesh Adalja told HuffPo.

How serious were the effects of the blood clots in the 6 cases?

According to the New York Times, 1 woman died and 1 was hospitalized. Symptoms reportedly developed 6 to 13 days after getting the vaccine.

The pause on the vaccine is intended to better equip healthcare professionals on how to treat this issue. 

“Usually, an anticoagulant drug called heparin is used to treat blood clots. In this setting, administration of heparin may be dangerous, and alternative treatments need to be given, the FDA and the CDC said

Do health officials know what may be causing the blood clots?

Not yet, but one reported hypothesis is that the single-dose vaccine may trigger an immune response that interferes with blood clotting in certain people.

Should you be worried if you received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine?

The CDC and FDA -- who are planning to review the cases -- said if you received the vaccine more than a month ago the risk of developing this blood clot issue is very low. They went on to note, "People who have received the J&J vaccine who develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination should contact their health care provider."

Will this pause causes a disruption in the vaccine rollout?

According to Jeff Zients, the White House COVID-19 response coordinator, no it will not. “This announcement will not have a significant impact on our vaccination plan: Johnson & Johnson vaccine makes up less than 5% of the recorded shots in arms in the United States to date.”

More information and details from the CDC on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine announcement can be found here.

More: When to Get the Vaccine If You've Already Had COVID-19

More: A Doctor's Advice for 'Wait and See' People Questioning the COVID-19 Vaccine

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