US health officials have lifted an 11-day pause on Johnson & Johnson vaccinations following a recommendation by an expert panel. Advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday the benefits of the single-dose Covid-19 shot outweigh a rare risk of blood clots.
Panel members said it is critical that younger women be told about that risk so they can decide if they’d rather choose another vaccine. The CDC and Food and Drug Administration agreed. European regulators earlier this week made a similar decision, deciding the clot risk was small enough to allow the rollout of Johnson & Johnson’s shot.
The change comes after distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was temporarily halted while scientists investigated rare but dangerous blood clots with low platelet counts linked to the shot.
“This pause was essential to our ability to inform the public, inform physicians and the acquire more data for presentation and for analysis,” said Dr Jose Romero, the chair of the CDC’s committee on immunization practices, which advises on how to best use vaccines. The committee vote was 10 to four in favor of recommending the vaccine for adults older than 18. There was one abstention.
Janet Woodcock, the acting FDA commissioner, said the pause was an example of safety monitoring precautions working as intended. “We’ve lifted the pause based on the FDA and CDC’s review of all available data,” she said. “We are confident that this vaccine continues to meet our standards for safety, effectiveness and quality.” read more…