CDC panel declines to make decision on J&J vaccine, will gather more data

By Don Johnson & Danielle Haynes
A man receives a dose of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine at St. Louis Community College at Forest Park in St. Louis, Mo., on March 25. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI
1 of 5 | A man receives a dose of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine at St. Louis Community College at Forest Park in St. Louis, Mo., on March 25. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

April 14 (UPI) -- Advisers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention decided to take no action Wednesday after holding an emergency meeting to review a possible link between Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine and cases of blood clotting in a few of the recipients.

Members of the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices said they didn't have enough information to vote on whether to recommend changes on who should receive the vaccine. They plan to gather more information and reconvene in seven to 10 days.


The emergency meeting in Atlanta came one day after the CDC and Food and Drug Administration called for a pause in administering the vaccine nationwide over at least six cases of reported clotting issues. All the reported cases involved women who'd received the vaccine, one of whom died.

Before the pause, 6.8 million Americans received the one-dose vaccine.

The CDC and FDA said in a joint statement Tuesday they made the recommendation to pause "out of an abundance of caution."

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden, said at a White House briefing Tuesday that clotting is a rare event that occurs in "less than one in a million" recipients.


Fauci added that people who have already received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the past two weeks should watch for symptoms including severe headaches, shortness of breath and chest discomfort. He said he expects the pause to last from a few days to a few weeks.

All 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico said after the recommendation that they would halt administering the vaccine. Federal vaccination sites, CVS, Walgreens, the U.S. military and providers such as Walmart and Rite Aid also said they will comply with the advice.

Dr. Jonathan Reiner, a professor of medicine and surgery at George Washington University, told CNN that it makes sense to pause the vaccine to "get a sense for whether this is a real phenomenon, whether [blood clotting] really is associated with the vaccine and who in particular might be at highest risk."

The pause of the vaccine, which is manufactured by Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Janssen, is similar to a suspension involving the coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Britain's Oxford University. That shot has also been linked to cases of blood clotting in the brain.


The AstraZeneca vaccine has not been approved for use in the United States.

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National Institutes of Health official Dr. Anthony Fauci (C) speaks about the coronavirus during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, D.C. Health and Human Services Secretary Alexander Azar (L) announced that the United States is declaring the virus a public health emergency and issued a federal quarantine order of 14 days for 195 Americans. Photo by Leigh Vogel/UPI | License Photo

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