CDC, FDA give updated guidance on risks with Johnson & Johnson vaccine

WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — Providers can immediately resume vaccinating patients for COVID-19 using Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose shot after federal officials recommended a pause due to a rare blood clotting disorder.

While the small risk for blood clots could deter some people, the Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say it is okay to get J&J’s one-and-done vaccine.

“Now this is not a decision the agencies reached lightly,” said FDA Acting Commissioner Janet Woodcock.

After an 11-day pause, the FDA and the CDC say they once again recommend the J&J vaccine as an option for those seeing a vaccine.

“We’re confident that the Jansen COVID-19 vaccine meets our robust standards for safety effectiveness and quality,” Woodcock said.

The federal agencies recommended the pause after they uncovered 15 vaccine recipients who developed a highly unusual kind of blood clot, out of nearly 8 million people given the J&J shot. All were women, most under age 50. Three died, and seven remain hospitalized.

But after further investigation, “both agencies have full confidence that this vaccine’s known and potential benefits outweigh its known and potential risks,” Woodcock said.

However, those who get the vaccine will also get a warning about the risk of the side effect — especially for women under age 60.

The CDC says federal and state health officials should fully utilize the single-dose vaccine, which is easier than others to ship and store.

“I do think that there’s plenty of people who are interested in the J&J vaccine, if just for convenience,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky.

Walensky says despite an increasing supply of vaccines, officials have seen a drop in the daily number of doses administered.

“We will continue to increase accessibility and make it easier and easier for Americans to get a shot,” said Jeffrey Zeints, the White House COVID-19 response lead coordinator.

Zeints says federal health officials plan to ramp up efforts to encourage every American to get a vaccine as soon as possible.