CDC advisers recommend Pfizer, Moderna vaccines over Johnson & Johnson

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday recommended Americans choose to receive one of two other authorized Covid-19 vaccines over Johnson & Johnson’s shot, due to rare but sometimes fatal cases of blood-clotting.

The move comes after a panel of outside advisers voted to recommend directing Americans towards the mRNA vaccines for protection against Covid-19 – meaning the shots by Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna in the US. The CDC’s advisory committee on immunization voted unanimously to make the recommendation.

Earlier Thursday, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices endorsed the updated recommendation after hearing new data indicating that a rare blood clotting syndrome is more common among people who recently got a J&J vaccine than previously believed. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky accepted the updated recommendation within hours.

The CDC has logged 54 cases, of which nine died, in the U.S. of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome or TTS in the U.S. since the vaccine became available. Rates are higher than previously estimated among both men and women, the CDC’s Dr. Isaac See told the meeting.

“We’ve been struck on reviewing these cases by how rapidly a patient deteriorates … to death,” See said. Symptoms always begin within two weeks of getting the vaccine and, on average, within nine days.

“The U.S. TTS case reporting rate following Janssen COVID-19 vaccination is higher than what was previously presented to ACIP and the case reporting rate for men 40-49 years and for women 50-64 is similar to that for women 18-29 years,” See told the meeting.

J&J said in a statement that the safety and wellbeing of those who use their vaccine is its top priority and it looks forward to working with the CDC on the next steps.

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