US health officials halt use of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine over clot reports

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Health officials in the United States Tuesday recommended the temporary suspension of using the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine after multiple cases of blood clotting appeared in individuals who received the jab.

White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeff Zients said the decision was made after the FDA and CDC recommended the move “out of an abundance of caution.”

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So far, there have been six reported cases in the US of a “rare and severe type of blood clot in individuals after receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine,” Zients said.

But the pause in J&J’s vaccine will not have a significant impact on the US vaccination plan. Zients said the company’s vaccine made up less than 5 percent of the recorded shots given in the US.

The six blood clots were reported out of almost seven million J&J doses given since April 12.

The CDC later said that no blood clots were seen in almost 200 million doses of the Pfizer and Modera vaccines.

Zients said there was more than enough supply to “continue the current pace of vaccinations of 3 million shots per day and meet the President’s goal of 200 million shots by his 100th day in office.”

He added that those scheduled to receive a J&J vaccine would be rescheduled for the Pfizer or Moderna jab.

It is worth noting that the J&J vaccine uses an adenovirus vector, which is the same technology used in vaccines made by companies in China, Russia and the United Kingdom. AstraZeneca has faced several setbacks after blood clots were widely reported in individuals who received its vaccines.

Adenovirus vector is not new, and it was used in the Ebola vaccine approved by the FDA years ago.

Pfizer and Moderna use mRNA technology, which does not contain a live virus.

Read more: Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine under EU review over blood clots

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