CHICAGO (CBS)– Cook County Health and the Indiana State Department of Health will pause the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine until the FDA and CDC complete their review of blood clot cases, officials announced Tuesday.
The The FDA and CDC are recommending a pause in the administration of Johnson & Johnson’s single-dosevaccine to investigate reports of potentially dangerous blood clots.
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The agencies said in a statement Tuesday the CDC will convene a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices on Wednesday to review six cases of “a rare & severe type of blood clot” in people who received the vaccine. The FDA will then review that analysis as it also investigates the cases.
“Until that process is complete, we are recommending a pause in the use of this vaccine out of an abundance of caution,” Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the CDC, and Dr. Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said in the statement.
Cook County Health said it would pause use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine until the CDC and FDA complete their review. The Cook County Department of Public Health has asked all Johnson & Johnson partners to pause using the vaccine as well.
People with appointments for Johnson & Johnson vaccines this week in Cook County instead will receive either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine. Anyone who does not want a Moderna or Pfizer vaccine should call 833-308-1988 to cancel or reschedule their appointment.
Anyone who already received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, and is experiencing severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath within three weeks after receiving the shot should contact their health care provider.
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Meantime, the Indiana State Department of Health also said it is notifying all of the state’s vaccination clinics to pause use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
“The health department will be sending the two-dose Moderna vaccine to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which is conducting mass vaccination clinics today, so that Hoosiers can continue to get vaccinated without interruption. The department is also working with other clinics that were scheduled to use the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the immediate future,” the department said in a statement.
As of Monday, over 6.8 million doses of the single-dose vaccine had been administered across the country.
The handful of cases the FDA and CDC are investigating occurred in women and involved a blood clot called cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, which was seen alongside low levels of blood platelets, according to their statement. Symptoms were seen 6 to 13 days after vaccination in the women, who were between the ages of 18 and 48.
“Treatment of this specific type of blood clot is different from the treatment that might typically be administered. 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,” they said.
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The agencies said the “adverse events” seem to be extremely rare, but that the pause is important so that health care providers can be made aware of the reactions and properly recognize and manage the cases, given the unique treatment required.