The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are recommending a "pause" in the use of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine to review blood clot cases, sparking anxiety and concern among those who have received or are scheduled to receive the vaccine.
Dr. David Katz, a preventive medicine specialist, cautioned that while we have to take this development seriously, there is "always some risk" when it comes to medicine.
“One of the critical things we need to realize is that everything we do in medicine comes with some risk," Katz told Yahoo Finance. “If the risk related to a vaccine is one in a million, but your risk of getting [COVID-19] is massively higher… those are very, very tiny risks worth taking.”
According to Katz, the potential for these adverse events to occur appear to be "a very remote probability."
In a joint statement on Tuesday, the CDC and FDA said that out of more than 6.8 million doses of the J&J (JNJ) vaccine that have been administered, there were six reports, including one death, of a rare and severe type of blood clot in individuals after receiving the vaccine.
J&J pause ‘makes sense’
More than two dozen states suspended the usage of J&J’s vaccine after the FDA and CDC recommended the pause "out of an abundance of caution." Several pharmacies also followed suit.
“We now have information about a potential risk we didn’t have before so we have to take that seriously. I think the pause makes sense,” said Katz. “If you are scheduled for the J&J vaccine, then I would wait and let the dust settle. Either opt for one of the other vaccines or wait until there is a full investigation and there is a change in the recommendations regarding this particular vaccine.”
The suspension of J&J’s vaccine complicates the country’s vaccine campaign, although health officials assure it won’t significantly disrupt vaccination efforts nationwide since the bulk of the U.S. vaccine supply is Pfizer (PFE) and Moderna (MRNA).
In a statement, White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeff Zients said the U.S. is still on track to reach President Biden’s goal of 200 million doses by his 100th day in office, while noting that J&J’s vaccine makes up less than 5% of the doses administered.
The vaccination rate nationwide is exceeding 3 million doses a day, well above initial predictions. More than a third of the country has received at least one dose of a vaccine, according to the CDC, while 75 million, or 22%, of the population is fully vaccinated.
Seana Smith anchors Yahoo Finance Live’s 3-5 p.m. ET program. Follow her on Twitter @SeanaNSmith
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