The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the US Food and Drug Administration are recommending that the United States pause the use of Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine over six reported US cases of a “rare and severe” type of blood clot.
The six reported cases were among more than 6.8 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine administered in the United States.
According to a statement from Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the CDC and Dr. Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, the 6 patients are female between the ages of 18 and 48, with million blood clots 6 to 13 days after vaccination.
“CDC will convene a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) on Wednesday to further review these cases and assess their potential significance,” the statement said.
“FDA will review that analysis as it also investigates these cases. Until that process is complete, we are recommending a pause in the use of this vaccine out of an abundance of caution.”
According to the above announcement from the CDC and FDA, all vaccination sites, public health centers and the like will have to stop using the Johnson & Johnson vaccine immediately.
In a statement, Johnson & Johnson said it has decided to “proactively delay the rollout” of its vaccine in Europe.
In Canada, the Ministry of Health is closely monitoring the situation in the US. Although the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has been approved for use in Canada as of March 5, no batch of vaccines has yet arrived in Canada. The Ministry of Health has also asked Janssen – the pharmaceutical company that makes the vaccine – for information on any cases of these rare blood clotting events.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters Tuesday morning that Canada is still expecting the first shipment of Johnson & Johnson vaccines by the end of April, but any decisions around its administration will factor in all available evidence.
The Johnson & Johnson viral vector vaccine was the fourth unique shot authorized for use in this country. The federal government has secured access to up to 38 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, with a deal in place for at least 10 million doses and the option to purchase 28 million more.
While the addition of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to Canada’s roster of approved shots is anticipated to help accelerate the mass immunization campaign, should federal authorities decide to hold off on using the shot in Canada, the government is still slated to have enough doses of the other vaccines to meet the promised September timeline.
Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam said the same process that Health Canada and NACI has taken with the reports of adverse effects concerning the AstraZeneca vaccine, should be expected when it comes to this new information around the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
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