A CDC panel recommended people receive the Pfizer or Moderna Covid-19 vaccine over Johnson & Johnsons (Picture: AP)
People should not get the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine when the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna shots are available, an advisory panel to the Centers for Disease Control and prevention said Thursday.
The recommendation was made largely because of an increased risk of potentially fatal blood clot issues linked to the Johnson & Johnson shot. Nine deaths have been confirmed in connection with the Johnson & Johnson shot. Of those, seven were women and two were men, their ages ranging from 28 to 62.
The CDC advisory panel voted unanimously to make the recommendation. The director, Rochelle Walensky, will decide later Thursday whether to adopt the panel’s recommendation as agency policy.
Cases of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS), a condition that involves blood clots as well as a low level of platelets, have previously been reported in recipients of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The highest reporting rates are in women under 50.
The recommendation was made because of a potential risk of blood clotting issues associated with the J&J shot (Picture : AP)
While still rare, the rate of such incidents is higher than previously estimated in both men and women, according to the CDC.
The government has reported a total 54 clot cases in both men and women. Only nine have resulted in death, though two additional deaths are suspected, according to the CDC’s Dr Isaac See.
Another deciding factor according to panel members was Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine’s effectiveness, which compared to mRNA Covid-19 vaccines was much less effective.
Johnson & Johnson’s one-dose vaccine received emergency use authorization in March. But in April, US regulators paused administering the vaccine for 10 days in order to investigate the blood clotting.
The rate of deaths from TTS did not decrease after the pause in April, one CDC scientist said.
Fewer Americans have received the Johnson & Johnson shot than the other two vaccines by a significant margin. Out of more than 200 million fully vaccinated people in the United States, around 16 million received Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine, according to CDC data.
Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine initially was welcomed as a single-dose option that could be especially important for hard-to-reach groups like homeless people or nursing home residents, but the CDC said Thursday that it was time to recognize a lot has changed since the beginning of vaccine rollout.
The panel said that exceptions to the policy should be made for those who have had allergic reactions to the mRNA vaccines, or where those other vaccines are unavailable.
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