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On Thursday, U.S. regulators strictly limited who can receive Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine due to the ongoing risk of rare but serious blood clots.

According to the new limitations put forth by the Food and Drug Administration, the shot should now only be given to adults who cannot receive a different vaccine or specifically request J&J’s vaccine. U.S. authorities for months have recommended that Americans starting their COVID-19 vaccinations use the Pfizer or Moderna shots instead.

Source: Vox Jorge Guerrero/AFP via Getty Images

FDA officials said in a statement that they decided to restrict J&J’s vaccine after taking another look at data on the risk of life-threatening blood clots within two weeks of vaccination. In December, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended prioritizing Moderna and Pfizer shots over J&J’s because of their safety issues. Previously, U.S. officials had treated all three vaccines similarly because they’d each been shown to offer strong protection.

Under the new FDA instructions, J&J’s vaccine could still be given to people who had a severe allergic reaction to one of the other vaccines and can’t receive an additional dose. J&J’s shot could also be an option for people who refuse to receive the mRNA vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna, and therefore would otherwise remain unvaccinated, the agency said.

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Rhea Sovani

Author Rhea Sovani

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