UPDATE: The 11-day pause was lifted on April 23 and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is being administered again around the country. A total of 15 people out of nearly 8 million that received the vaccine reported adverse effects. Health experts determined that the benefits of the vaccine outweighed the risks.
Here are the answers to some of the most common questions asked about the situation with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. At this time, 6 cases of rare and severe blood clots caused by the vaccine have been reported. 1 person has died.
A CDC advisory panel debated Wednesday possible next steps in the administration of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, and after hours of questions and presentation, decided Wednesday they did not have enough information about the rare instances of blood clots to make a recommendation.
WHY WAS THE VACCINE PULLED IF THERE’S ONLY BEEN A HANDFUL OF CASES? ISN'T THERE ALWAYS A RISK WITH A VACCINE OR MEDICINE?
Initially, it was suggested that only a warning should be issued. But as officials and health experts talked they began to worry there might be additional cases that they were unaware of.
Ultimately, it was decided to halt shipment temporarily since the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech shots are widely available and have not been linked to any serious side effects.
WHO IS BEING AFFECTED BY THE BLOOD CLOTS?
So far, the clots have been reported in women between the ages of 18 and 48.
WHAT KIND OF BLOOD CLOTS?
Cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST)
WHAT’S UNUSUAL ABOUT THESE BLOOD CLOTS?
They are extremely rare and severe and they can’t be treated like other blood clots.
HOW SHOULD THE CLOTS BE TREATED?
They can not be treated with heparin, which is the standard blood-thinning treatment used for clots. Treatment must be individualized.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
Severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain and shortness of breath. There may also be other symptoms.
WHEN DID SYMPTOMS APPEAR?
6 or 13 days after injection
WHO SHOULD BE ON THE LOOKOUT?
Anyone who got the vaccine within the last couple of weeks. If you got the J&J vaccine more than a month ago, you are probably safe.
WHAT ARE THE ODDS?
Less than 1 in a million, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci.
WHY ARE THE CLOTS HAPPENING?
Scientists aren’t 100% sure yet. They have a working hypothesis.
IS THIS HAPPENING WITH THE OTHER VACCINES?
Not with the vaccines used in the U.S. — the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines.
However, it does have side effects similar to the AstraZeneca vaccine.
WHO WAS THE VACCINE TESTED ON?
It was mostly tested on white males between the ages of 18 and 59 years old.
HOW EFFECTIVE IS THE J&J VACCINE?
It was 66.3% effective in clinical trials. It also had high efficacy at preventing hospitalization and death in people who did get sick.
HOW MANY LIVES DO VACCINES SAVE EACH YEAR?
Immunizations currently prevent 2-3 million deaths every year around the world.
HOW OFTEN DO PEOPLE SUFFER SERIOUS REACTIONS TO VACCINES IN GENERAL?
One to two individuals out of 1 million suffer serious and enduring injuries as a result of vaccines.
WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON VACCINES?
Flu, pneumonia, HPV, chickenpox and polio.
WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF THERE WERE NO VACCINES?
Hundreds of thousands, if not millions, would die each year from various diseases.