FDA: Short pause of Johnson & Johnson vaccines after 6 develop blood clots

Coronavirus

WASHINGTON — Dr. Anthony Fauci says Americans who’ve recently received a Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine shouldn’t be anxious about the “pause” in shots because of reports of blood clots.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention called for the pause Tuesday to investigate six reports of potentially dangerous blood clots, among more than 6.8 million doses administered.

The nation’s top infectious disease expert says, “It’s less than one in a million.” Fauci adds people should “pay attention” to symptoms associated with the blood clots, particularly between one and three weeks after the shot.

The White House was first informed of the announcement Monday night, coronavirus coordinator Jeff Zients says. He defended the administration’s notification to states, saying, “there was no heads up here.”

Fauci says the pause by regulators is a “testimony to how seriously we take safety.”

Dr. Janet Woodcock, the agency’s acting commissioner, says, “We expect it to be a matter of days for this pause.”

The U.S. FDA and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommended the pause Tuesday to investigate unusual clots in six women that occurred 6 to 13 days after vaccination with the J&J vaccine. The clots occurred in veins that drain blood from the brain and occurred together with low platelets. All cases were in women between the ages of 18 to 48.

Nearly 7 million J&J doses have been administered in the U.S., almost all without serious side effects.

In North Carolina, Johnson & Johnson makes up less than 4 percent of of shots administered.

There have been 218,690 single-shot doses administered in North Carolina out of nearly 5.9 million total shots given.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said it is following the FDA’s recommendation out of an abundance of caution.

“The safety system in place is working as it should. If you have an appointment for Pfizer or Moderna, please go to your appointment as planned. If you have an appointment for Johnson & Johnson, your appointment will be re-scheduled.”

NCDHHS

Regulators say they want to educate patients and medical professionals about spotting and treating the clots. The clots were observed along with reduced platelet counts, making the usual treatment for blood clots, the blood thinner heparin, potentially “dangerous.”

The announcement hit U.S. stock markets immediately, with Dow futures falling almost 200 points just over two hours before the opening bell. Shares of Johnson & Johnson dropped almost 3%.

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