Administration of Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot coronavirus vaccine were paused on Tuesday after federal health agencies said they need to examine a rare blood-clotting illness that has presented in six women who have received the injection, according to a .joint statement by the CDC and FDA.
The six recipients were between the ages of 18 and 48 and developed the illness within six to thirteen days of being vaccinated. One of the women has died and another has been hospitalized in critical condition.
More than seven million Americans have already received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and another 10 million doses have been delivered to states.
The statement, authored by 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, said, “We are recommending a pause in the use of this vaccine out of an abundance of caution. Right now, these adverse events appear to be extremely rare.”
While the pause was a recommendation, all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico stopped administering the vaccine until further notice. Military vaccination sites, pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens, and all federally run sites also ceased providing injections of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Monderna and Pfizer injections are still available, however.
The length of the pause will be determined by a CDC advisory committee Wednesday. At the meeting, it is expected that a panel of experts will be reviewing data from the six cases where the clotting illness appeared and hearing from the public before taking a final vote on whether or not to continue the pause or if there are recommendations to be made as to whom the injection is best suited for.
U.S. surgeon general, Dr. Vivek Murthy reassured Americans in an interview on CBS that the pause was just a precautionary measure.
More than 7.2 million Americans have received Johnson & Johnson’s #COVID vaccine, and at least six of them developed serious blood clots.
— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) April 14, 2021
“We’re just doing the due diligence we need to do to make sure everything is safe so we can continue with our vaccination efforts,” Dr. Murthy said.
Despite the setback, President Biden stated with certainty that the goal to vaccinate every American adult is still on track.
“There is enough vaccine, that is basically 100 percent unquestionable, for every single, solitary American,” Biden said,