Future of Johnson & Johnson vaccine up for discussion by CDC panel


An illustration picture shows vials with Covid-19 Vaccine stickers attached and syringes with the logo of US pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson on November 17, 2020. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP) (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

The pause on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine could be lifted by Friday. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention panel will meet today to discuss the next step.

A pause was recommended by the CDC and FDA after six women who received the vaccine developed blood clots.

Friday’s meeting could play out in a few ways. The CDC advisory committee could recommend lifting the pause in the U.S, in which case they will likely recommend adding warnings about the risk of blood clots.

They could also recommend limiting the use of the vaccine to those over a certain age or they could choose to extend the pause — although that is not expected.

We spoke to a doctor at Ascension St. Vincent who has a message to Hoosiers who have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and may have some concerns.

“There’s much less risk if you’re male or way outside the age range,” said Dr. Christopher Belcher, the infection prevention medical director at Ascension St. Vincent.

“The cases occurred between 6-13 days after [getting] vaccinated so if you got Johnson & Johnson a month ago, you’re out of that window. It seems like it would be very unlikely.”

The panel’s meeting comes as the CDC investigates the death of an Oregon woman in her 50s who developed a rare blood clot and low platelets within two weeks of receiving the J&J vaccine. Officials say at this point, a correlation between her death and the vaccine can’t be drawn.  

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