After a brief pause on the use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, the CDC has recommended that the use of the vaccine should resume.
On April 13th, the CDC and the FDA put a pause on distribution of the J&J vaccine after finding a correlation between the shot and a rare, severe type of blood clot. A joint statement by the CDC and the FDA states, “a type of blood clot called cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) was seen in combination with low levels of blood platelets (thrombocytopenia)”.
At the time of the pause, 6.8 million J&J vaccines had already been administered. Six women, between the ages of 18-50, experienced the blood clot symptom.
On April 23rd, the CDC again approved the distribution of the vaccine, stating that, “A review of all available data at this time shows that the J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine’s known and potential benefits outweigh its known and potential risks”.
The occurrence of these blood clots are extremely rare, and even more rare amongst women over 50 years old and men in general. However, the CDC did note that women under 50 years old should consider getting one of the other COVID-19 vaccines, such as Moderna and Pfizer, where this risk has not been seen.
The J&J vaccination is a one shot vaccine that was found to be 66.3% effective according to the CDC’s website. Its largest competitors, Moderna and Pfizer, are both a two shot vaccination process, but have found success with higher efficiency levels during testing. Moderna was found to be 94.1% effective and Pfizer was found to be 95% effective.
The CDC will continue to closely monitor possible COVID-19 vaccination side effects. For those who already received the J&J vaccine before distribution was originally halted, the CDC says to look out for symptoms of blood clots. These symptoms can include: headaches, blurred vision, shortness of breath, chest pain, abdominal pain, swelling, or bruising/blood spots under the skin.