CDC Advisory Panel Suggests Resuming Use of Johnson & Johnson Vaccine

Johnson & Johnson Coronavirus Vaccine
Twitter/@AFP

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advisory panel recommended on Friday that the U.S. resume the use of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine following U.S. health agencies calling for its suspension last week over concerns of a handful of patients developing a rare disorder involving blood clots.

According to reports, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice approved  the recommendation by a 10-4 majority. While this particular vote will not see providers resuming the shots, as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has yet to give the green light to resume the administration of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the vote will essentially “pave the way for U.S. regulators to lift their recommended pause on using the J&J shot as early as this weekend,” according to NBC News.

On April 13, federal health agencies asked for an “immediate pause” on the vaccine. The move followed six Americans developing a rare disorder involving blood clots after receiving the vaccine, resulting in one fatality:

Per NBC News:

Rare blood clots with low platelets are occurring at a rate of 7 per 1 million vaccinations in women ages 18 to 49 for the J&J shot and 0.9 per 1 million in women age 50 and older, according to a slide presented at the CDC panel meeting. CDC has confirmed 15 cases total of rare blood clot conditions, which includes 12 women who developed blood clots in the brain. Three women have died and 7 remained hospitalized, according to the slides.

Dr. Michael Streiff, a hematologist at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, said the condition, in normal circumstances, is very rare. “I can tell you from my experience, treating these patients, I’ve just never seen it,” he told the committee during a presentation Friday.

In a joint statement, Dr. Peter Marks, director of the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, and Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the CDC, recommended the pause “out of an abundance of caution.”

“Right now, these adverse events appear to be extremely rare,” they said in the statement.

At the time, Johnson & Johnson released a statement noting that “no clear causal relationship has been established between these rare events and the Janssen (J&J) Covid-19 vaccine.”

According to the CDC, just short of eight million people have been fully vaccinated with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, specifically, in the U.S. Over 91.1 million people have been “fully vaccinated” in the U.S., or 27.5 percent of the population, according to the federal health agency’s April 23 data.

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