The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the US Food and Drug Administration this morning recommended that the United States pause the use of Johnson & Johnson's Covid-19 vaccine following reports of several cases of a "rare and severe" type of blood clot.
If you're just reading in now, here's what you need to know about the vaccine, the rare clots and what happens next:
- Six cases after about 7 million doses: The six reported cases were among more than 6.8 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine administered in the United States. Of the six cases — all of whom were in women between the ages of 18 and 48 — one person died and another is in critical condition.
- When the clots happened: With the six cases, symptoms occurred six to 13 days after vaccination, officials said today. The vaccine was authorized for emergency use on Feb. 27 and shots started going into arms a few days after, in early March.
- How vaccine sites are reacting: Several states and cities — including Washington, DC, New York City and New Jersey — announced they would pause administration of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. CVS and Walgreens also announced they would immediately pause use of the vaccine.
- What happens next? It's not clear how long the pause could last, but Dr. Janet Woodcock, the acting commissioner of the FDA, said she expects the pause to be “a matter of days.” The CDC will hold an emergency meeting of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices tomorrow to review the blood clot cases.
- What if I've already gotten the Johnson & Johnson vaccine? For people who have received the Johnson & Johnson shot, those who have developed severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination should contact their health care provider, according to a statement from the FDA and CDC. And remember: These adverse events "appear to be extremely rare," the statement said.