U.S. recommends ‘pause’ for Johnson & Johnson vaccine over clot reports

The U.S. is recommending a “pause” in administration of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to investigate reports of potentially dangerous blood clots.

In a joint statement Tuesday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration said they are investigating clots in six women in the days after vaccination, in combination with reduced platelet counts.

“All six cases occurred among women between the ages of 18 and 48, and symptoms occurred six to 13 days after vaccination,” the statement said.

More than 6.8 million doses of the J&J vaccine have been administered in the U.S. 

The single-dose vaccine has been approved in Canada, but the country has not yet received any doses. 

U.S. federal distribution channels, including mass vaccination sites, will pause the use of the J&J shot, and states and other providers are expected to follow.

CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will meet Wednesday to discuss the cases and the FDA has also launched an investigation of the cases.

“Until that process is complete, we are recommending a pause in the use of this vaccine out of an abundance of caution,” Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the CDC, and Dr. Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said in a joint statement.

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