INDIANAPOLIS — New recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are suggesting that Americans choose the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines over the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. The decision stems from a rare health complication that is being seen in a small number of J&J recipients.
16 million Americans have received the J&J shot, but 54 people have suffered from blood clot issues after taking it. So far, nine people have died.
The complication remains extremely rare, but the risk was enough to prompt the CDC to recommend people choose the other two vaccines if possible.
“Really it’s women from 30 to 50 years-old or so who are at the highest risk, and that risk is 1 in 100,000. That’s a very rare event. You should spend more time looking each way before you cross the street,” says Dr. Christopher Belcher, Medical Director of Infection Prevention at Ascension St. Vincent.
“I think it’s a very reasonable move by the CDC. It was a very rare event, and the vaccine did prevent cases. It did save lives. There is just a safer alternative, and we have learned that.”
Doctors say the blood clot symptoms tend to show roughly two weeks after the shot. This could be in the form of severe headaches, stroke like symptoms, or seizures.
Health experts fear the this news may boost vaccine hesitancy.
“I think some people jump immediately to, ‘Oh my gosh! There’s a side effect to this vaccinate? They are all a bad thing!’ It really isn’t,” explains Dr. Belcher. “It should give us confidence that even when these very, very rare events are detected, we are making moves to adjust it. It should give us confidence in our vaccine safety system.”
If you feel any of the symptoms stated above, you are encouraged to seek out medical attention.
Again, these tend to come two weeks after the shot, and not immediately following your vaccination.
Dr. Belcher says mild headaches, fatigue, and chills are common right getting your shot.