KANSAS CITY, Kan. — A federal advisory panel is meeting this afternoon to determine whether the Johnson & Johnson vaccine should continue to be used.
Doctors at the University of Kansas Health System said the “one-and-done” immunizations should resume again soon.
Outside experts are reviewing clinical data on six women, between 18 and 48, who all developed rare but severe blood clots after receiving the Johnson & Johnson shot, also referred to as the Janssen vaccine. All of the women had clots in vessels that drain blood from the brain.
One woman has died, according to federal health officials. Another is in critical condition.
Doctors at University of Kansas Health System say so far, the chances of experiencing one of the blood clots has been one in a million. When compared to 130 deaths per million from COVID-19 in the same age group, 18 to 48, doctors say the choice seems clear.
“It’s important to remember this is a pause,” said Dr. Catherine Satterwhite, regional director of the federal Department of Health and Human Services. “This is not a stop forever. What we’re asking states to do is just hold on to their supply while we go through this very important process of evaluating what has been raised yesterday with these six cases.”
The committee will weigh the benefits versus the risks. It could decide to resume the Johnson and Johnson shots at full speed ahead, with no changes. It could decide to discontinue this particular inoculation for certain groups, like young adult women. Or it could determine to stop using the Janssen vaccine entirely.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is asking vaccine providers to hold on to their supply of Johnson and Johnson shots and await further guidance. Satterwhite said the “pause” is not expected to last long.