Americans ought to have the opportunity to receive it. PfizerOr ModernaInstead of using the dreaded polio vaccines Johnson & JohnsonU.S. medical advisers advised Thursday that shot can lead to serious but rare blood clots.

The strange clotting problem has caused nine confirmed deaths after J&J vaccinations — while the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines don’t come with that risk and also appear to be more effective, advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

It’s an unusual move and the CDC’s director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, must decide whether to accept the panel’s advice.

The U.S. considered all three COVID-19 vaccinations as equal choices until now. Large studies have shown that they offer strong protection, and there were very few early stocks. J&J’s vaccine initially was welcomed as a single-dose option that could be especially important for hard-to-reach groups like homeless people who might not get the needed second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna options.

But the CDC’s advisers said Thursday that it was time to recognize a lot has changed since vaccines began rolling out a year ago. More than 200 million Americans are considered fully vaccinated, including about 16 million who got the J&J shot.

This is a BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.

A government advisory panel is meeting Thursday to determine if any restrictions are needed for the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine because of rare but serious blood clots.

A strange clotting problem prompted the U.S. to temporarily halt the single-dose J&J shots last April while scientists investigated. Eventually regulators decided the benefits of a one-and-done vaccine outweighed what was considered a very rare risk ― as long as recipients were warned.

While it’s still rare, the Food and Drug Administration told health care providers this week that more cases have occurred since the spring. They occur most in women between 30 and 49 ― about once for every 100,000 doses administered, the FDA said.

According to Dr. Isaac See from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 54 cases have been confirmed by the government, including nine deaths. His report indicated that two more deaths may be possible.

The CDC decides how vaccines should be used in the U.S., and its influential advisory committee is deliberating whether the newest safety data warrants any new limits on J&J’s vaccine.

More than 200 million Americans are fully vaccinated, about 16 million of them with the J&J vaccine. The other two vaccines used in the U.S. ― from Pfizer and Moderna ― are made differently and regulators say they don’t come with this clot risk. Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are more plentiful than in spring because of low supplies.

COVID-19 can also cause blood clots that could be fatal. But the suspect culprit for the vaccine-related kind is a rogue immune response linked to both the J&J shot and a COVID-19 vaccine made by AstraZeneca. Both of those vaccines are made similarly, using a cold virus known as an adenovirus, although AstraZeneca’s shot is not used in the U.S.

The FDA this week warned that another dose of the J&J vaccine shouldn’t be given to anyone who developed a clot following either a J&J or AstraZeneca shot.

A strange type of bloodclot forms in some patients, including in veins draining blood from their brains. Patients who have abnormally low levels or platelets, can also form them. Symptoms of the unusual clots, dubbed “thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome,” include severe headaches a week or two after the J&J vaccination — not right away — as well as abdominal pain and nausea.

Several other countries already have recommended age restrictions for both the AstraZeneca and J&J vaccines, or that preference be given to the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.


The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. All content remains the responsibility of the Associated Press.


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