Health Authorities Discourage J&J COVID-19 Vaccine Amid Concern About Blood Clots

Headline Roundup December 16th, 2021

Health authorities and drug regulators in the U.S. are conveying more concerns about rare but severe blood clots associated with Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine.

On Thursday, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advisory panel unanimously gave a preferential recommendation to the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines over Johnson & Johnson's one-shot vaccine. Also this week, the Food and Drug Administration updated its fact sheet for health care providers who administer the J&J vaccine, citing current evidence that "supports a causal relationship between" blood clots and the J&J shot. At least 54 cases of of blood clots after receipt of the J&J vaccine have been reported in the U.S. to date. Seven women and two men, ranging in age from 28 to 62, died from the clots; another two deaths are suspected to be linked to the vaccine. The U.S. has administered roughly 17 million J&J doses. The two-shot vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer use mRNA technology, while the J&J shot is built on "more traditional virus-based technology." In April, health officials recommended a nationwide pause on administration of the vaccine due to concerns about blood clots. The pause was lifted 10 days later.

Outlets across the spectrum covered the news prominently and with a similar emphasis on the deaths linked to J&J's vaccine. Some on the right highlighted previous concerns about J&J's vaccine. Some on the left focused on how weakened support for J&J's vaccine could undermine public confidence in COVID-19 vaccines.

From the Left
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Vaccine advisers to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention voted 15-0 Thursday to change recommendations for Covid-19 vaccines to make clear that shots made by Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech are preferred over Johnson & Johnson's vaccine.

The new recommendation: "mRNA vaccines are preferred over the Janssen Covid-19 vaccine for the prevention of Covid-19 for those 18 years of age and over."

The CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices endorsed the updated recommendation after hearing new data indicating that a rare blood clotting syndrome is more common among people who...

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From the Center
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Apanel that advises the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gave a rare preferential recommendation to the Covid vaccines based on messenger RNA technology on Thursday — a decision aimed at steering people away from the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine because of concerns about a rare but serious side effect.

The recommendation passed by a unanimous vote, with all 15 members of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices supporting it.

The recommendation levels another blow to J&J’s vaccine, which has struggled to find a foothold in the U.S. market....

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From the Right
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U.S. drug regulators this week formally strengthened a warning to Americans regarding a severe condition linked to Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine.

Blood clots and low blood platelet levels, known as thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS), are now listed as a contraindication, or a medical reason for somebody not to get the shot.

“Do not administer” the vaccine to individuals with a history of the set of conditions following the vaccine or any other adenovirus-vectored COVID-19 vaccine, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says in an updated fact sheet (pdf) for health care providers...

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