CDC Panel recommends Pfizer or Moderna shoot Johnson & Johnson

A CDC panel recommends people get the Pfizer or Moderna Covid-19 vaccine instead of Johnson & Johnsons (Image: AP)

People should not get the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine when there are vaccines for Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, an advisory panel of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Thursday.

The recommendation was made largely because of the increased risk of potentially fatal blood clot problems associated with Johnson & Johnson injections. Nine deaths have been confirmed in connection with the Johnson & Johnson shooting. Among them, seven women and two men, aged between 28 and 62.

The CDC Advisory Board voted unanimously to make the recommendation. Director Rochelle Walensky will decide later Thursday whether to adopt the panel’s recommendation as agency policy.

Cases of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS), a condition associated with blood clots as well as low platelet counts, have been previously reported in recipients of Johnson & Johnson vaccines. The highest reported rates are in women under the age of 50.

The recommendation was made because of the potential risk of clotting problems associated with J&J injections (Image: AP)

While still rare, rates of such incidents are higher than previously estimated in both men and women, according to the CDC.

The government has reported a total of 54 cases of blood clots in both men and women. Only nine cases resulted in death, although two other deaths are suspected, according to CDC’s Dr. Isaac See.

Another deciding factor according to panel members was the effectiveness of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine, compared with the much less effective Covid-19 mRNA vaccine.

Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine was approved for emergency use in March. But in April, US regulators halted the use of the vaccine for 10 days to investigate blood clotting.

A CDC scientist said the death rate from TTS did not decrease after the pause in April.

Fewer Americans received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine than the other two vaccines by a significant margin. Of the more than 200 million fully immunized people in the United States, about 16 million have received Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine, according to CDC data.

Initially, Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine was welcomed as a single dose option that could be especially important for hard-to-reach groups such as the homeless or nursing home residents, but the CDC said Tuesday. Five that it’s time to realize how much has changed since the vaccine’s rollout began.

The panel considered that exceptions to the policy should be made for those who have had allergic reactions to mRNA vaccines or where other vaccines are not available.

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Huynh Nguyen

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