On Wednesday, government health advisers declared that they need more evidence to decide if a handful of unusual blood clots were linked to the Johnson & Johnson shot, which has currently been put on hold across the United States.
In order to assess how big the risk really is, an emergency meeting was held by the advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention debated with the fact that the U.S. has enough alternative shots to vaccinate its population but other countries anxiously awaiting the one-and-done vaccine may not.
As reported by the Associated Press, CDC adviser Dr. Grace Lee of Stanford University, who was among those seeking to postpone a vote on the vaccine, said, “I continue to feel like we’re in a race against time and the variants, but we need to (move forward) in the safest possible way.”Authorities have studied the clots for only a few days and have little information to judge the shot, agreed fellow adviser Dr. Beth Bell of the University of Washington. “I don’t want to send the message there is something fundamentally wrong with this vaccine,” Bell said. “It’s a very rare event. Nothing in life is risk-free. But I want to be able to understand and defend the decision I’ve made based on a reasonable amount of data.”
As it stands, six cases out of more than 7 million U.S. inoculations with the one-dose vaccine developed blood clots after receiving the dose. Soon afterward, the government recommended a pause in J&J vaccinations this week. But this being said, although rare, these blood clots were a cause for concern in all six patients, since they occurred in areas in the body wherein the phenomenon could be lethal. They occurred in unusual places, in veins that drain blood from the brain, and in people with abnormally low levels of clot-forming platelets. The six cases raised an alarm bell because that number is at least three times more than experts would have expected to see even of more typical brain-drainage clots, said CDC’s Dr. Tom Shimabukuro.
The CDC expects its advisers to reconsider the evidence within two weeks. So far the clots have occurred between one and three weeks after people received the J&J vaccine, and officials cautioned that more reports could surface, until which the vaccine should be avoided.