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Johnson & Johnson vaccine interruptions: What you need to know if you’ve already had or scheduled an injection

The COVID-19 rollout over the past few months has left people with many questions, and the latest concerns about Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine are perhaps even more of a concern.

Background: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a joint statement Tuesday morning, recommending to suspend distribution of Johnson & Johnson products.

Vaccine COVID-19 while they are examined six serious cases of rare blood clots have been reported in those who received the injection.

Health officials called the short-term cessation of injections “extremely cautious”, they said, stressing that these clots were “extremely rare” and occurred in less than a fraction. million people have been vaccinated. Specifically, only 6 cases of these rare blood clots were reported out of 6.8 million Americans who received a single dose of J&J vaccine. But the CDC wants to make sure that healthcare providers are prepared to treat blood clots if they happen.

Read more: The United States recommends discontinuation of J&J COVID-19 vaccine following reports of rare blood clots.

So what happened? In all of these six cases, all of them were women, a type of blood clot known as cerebral sinus thrombosis (CVST) was found to be associated with a low blood platelet count (also known as thrombocytopenia). ). One was still in critical condition and one died.

Dr. Reynold Panettieri, a lung doctor and professor of medicine at Rutgers University, explained to MarketWatch that CVST manifests itself as a stroke. “Blood clots form in the draining veins of the brain, and that turns things back on and causes bleeding to the brain,” he said. They are very rare, occur in 5 in a million people each year and can be caused by certain cancers or sickle cell disease.

“Don’t get an anxious response because remember, it’s less than a millionth.”

– Dr. Anthony Fauci

All six reported cases of CVST and low blood platelet counts among J&J vaccine recipients involved women aged 18 to 48, with symptoms appearing six to 13 days after injection. strains. But health officials note that the number of these cases is so small that they cannot generalize whether these are women of a certain age or other demographic groups, who may be at high risk. than. This is why the CDC Immunization Practices Advisory Committee, which recommends vaccines once approved by the Food and Drug Administration, will meet on Wednesday to review schools. well suited.

Update on corona virus: The US COVID vaccine program faces failure with J&J jab, as experts argue there is no reason to alarm


The COVID-19 vaccine, currently not approved in the US, has been suspended in several European countries due to concerns about a similar rare blood clot.

However, this information could trigger a warning for those who have already had J&J vaccines or those scheduled for an early shot. But there’s no need to panic; Just notice if you have symptoms like severe headache, stomach pain, leg pain or trouble breathing. If you do, seek medical attention.

Dr Anthony Fauci, the government’s leading infectious disease expert, said: “First of all, I will tell them not to react with anxiety because remember, the rate is less than one in a million.” . on Tuesday.

So here’s what we know about these J&J cases so far, what symptoms everyone should be on the lookout for, and what you should do regarding any upcoming J&J vaccination appointments. Keep in mind that this information may change as we learn more, so these guidelines will be updated as health officials update their recommendations.

I received my J&J photo. What should I watch out for?

The CDC and FDA say that if you have a severe headache, feel stomach or leg pain, or start having difficulty breathing within three weeks of getting J&J vaccination, you should seek medical attention or talk to your home. Your healthcare provider.

These clot symptoms should not be confused with flu-like symptoms (fever, body aches, chills, fatigue and nausea) or swollen lymph nodes under your arms and near your collarbone, This can be a normal response to COVID infection. vaccines of J&J, Pfizer
+ 0.51%

or Moderna
+ 7.40%

It should be noted that clotting phenomena usually occur about one week after J&J vaccination and no more than three weeks after vaccination, with an average time of about nine days. So if it has been almost a month since you vaccinated, you should know.

I have scheduled to shoot J&J. Should I cancel my appointment or get Pfizer or Moderna instead?

You don’t need to rush to cancel your appointment, although your state or vaccination site may have canceled or rescheduled appointments with J&J while the recommended pause is in effect. Retailers and pharmacies like Walgreens and Rite Aid

and Wegmans has canceled their J&J appointments at this time, for example.

Or some states, incl New York and TexasInstead, it will switch to giving J&J shots one of the other available COVID vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna. Your test local health department or your vaccination site for guidance. And the pause “Will not have a significant impact” on the White House vaccination plan, according to Jeff Zient, White House COVID-19 response coordinator.

Furthermore, doctors and vaccination sites can still give you J&J vaccinations. “This is a recommendation, and it is not a mission. Dr Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biological Evaluation and Research, said in a press conference Tuesday it was extremely cautious. “If an individual healthcare provider talks to an individual patient and they determine that the risk of benefit to that patient is appropriate, we will not prevent that provider from vaccinating. -please”.

Remember that tens of millions of people have been vaccinated against J&J without this serious side effect. “We have to put this into context,” said Panettieri. “It is very important to realize that millions of people have been vaccinated with Johnson & Johnson and reaped the benefits of the vaccine. This is an extremely rare and rare event. You are more likely to get COVID-19 and have a serious COVID infection [if you don’t get vaccinated] rather than getting this complication from a vaccine. ”

Who is most at risk of developing this low coagulation / platelet reaction with J&J vaccine?

There are still too few cases to make any particular connection. “Judging by the six is ​​difficult to give word generalizations. We will ask our committee of experts to take a careful look, ”Dr. Anne Schuchat, CDC’s chief vice president, said at a press conference Tuesday. “The numbers are pretty small, small enough to be hard to generalize, but big enough for us to want to take action by pausing.”

However, a few cases have in common so far: All six involved women between the ages of 18 and 48 years, who developed blood clots within six to 13 days after the J&J injection. But it is too early to say that women of a certain age are at greater risk than anyone else.

But then again: these blood clots are still extremely rare, and it’s completely unclear if the vaccine will cause these. Using oral contraceptives and smoking cigarettes can also increase your risk of blood clots. “Chances of you getting CVST can happen to many, many other factors that people are exposed to the vaccine,” Panettieri said. “And remember, this type of thrombosis occurs in five out of a million people. So when you start vaccinating millions of people, you’ll get a number of people who can just develop this disease in any case. ”

How long will the J&J footage be paused? What happens next?

Dr. Janet Woodcock, FDA commissioner, said that the suspension should only last “a few days” during a press conference on Tuesday morning. This could change depending on “what we learn over the next few days,” she noted.

The CDC Immunization Practices Advisory Committee will hold an emergency meeting on Wednesdays from 1:30 to 4:30 pm ET to review cases, and this meeting will be open to the public. they watch. Click here for more details on tuning; No registration required.

The bottom line: If you have been vaccinated with J&J, watch for symptoms of this rare blood clot, including severe headache, stomach or leg pain, and difficulty breathing within three weeks of getting the shot. But these blood clots are so rare – recorded in less than one in a million people who have received a J&J vaccine – so there is no need to panic or cancel an upcoming J&J vaccination appointment. However, your immunization facility or local health department may reschedule appointments or exchange J&J vaccines for other vaccines, so check with your vaccination site to see this. may affect your future appointment.

“The takeaway here is, the most important thing anyone can do is get vaccinated,” says Panettieri. “Not getting vaccinated puts you at increased risk of dying from an increased COVID, or a serious risk from COVID, so I wouldn’t worry about these rare and isolated clotting cases.”



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