The US rollout of Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose Covid-19 vaccine was halted Tuesday as regulators race to investigate rare blood-clotting complications linked to the shot. The move may force thousands of people scheduled to receive the shot this week to scramble for an alternative.
Both the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended a pause in distributing the vaccine after six reported cases of cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST). These clots block blood flowing out of the brain and can quickly turn deadly.
The complications were found in women between the ages of 18 and 48, and they arose between six and 13 days after receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. “Of the clots seen in the United States, one case was fatal, and one patient is in critical condition,” said Peter Marks, the head of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, during a Tuesday press conference.
However, the fact that so few cases led to a nationwide pause of the vaccine has raised questions about a possible overreaction.
Speaking at the White House on Tuesday, Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, argued that the CDC and FDA were acting “out of an abundance of caution” and emphasized that their Tuesday decision was a “pause,” implying that it is meant to be temporary.
“I don’t think that they were pulling the trigger too quickly,” Fauci said.
But the move has nonetheless created confusion for people slated to receive the Johnson & Johnson shot and raised fears that it could fuel hesitancy around Covid-19 vaccines.
Johnson & Johnson itself was already reeling from a manufacturing error at one of its suppliers that ruined
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