The U.S. is recommending a “pause” in using the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to investigate reports of potentially dangerous blood clots.
RICK RITTER: Well, it could be an extraordinary setback in the vaccination race. The FDA and CDC say use of the Johnson and Johnson shot could be halted. Welcome to the news at 11, everyone. I'm Rick Ritter.
VIC CARTER: And I'm Vic Carter. This comes after six women developed a rare blood clot after getting the vaccine. One of them died.
RICK RITTER: And nearly 7 million doses of the J&J shot had been administered nationwide. So that means cases of this unusual reaction are less than one in a million.
VIC CARTER: And despite that, one by one states, including Maryland, decided to follow the doctor's orders and pause the use of the shot, at least for now.
RICK RITTER: And WJZ is live at 11 o'clock tonight. Amy Kawata breaking down everything you need to know. Amy.
AMY KAWATA: Rick, Vic, the FDA says this move comes out of abundance of caution. Governor Larry Hogan says, none of those blood clot cases were here in Maryland. But now, local doctors are concerned this could raise new fears adding to the vaccine hesitancy.
- A sudden halt in Johnson and Johnson COVID shots.
DR. JONATHAN THIERMAN: I think people should feel reassured that the FDA is looking out for them.
- After federal health agencies called for a temporary pause in the vaccine's use to investigate six reports of rare and potentially deadly blood clots.
DR. JONATHAN THIERMAN: The FDA is so vigilant. The fact that they would pause a lifesaving vaccination program.
- The women affected had low levels of blood platelets. Their symptoms developed six to 13 days after getting the vaccine. One patient died. Another is in critical condition. And there is a striking similarity. All were of childbearing age. The FDA says they do not see a link between clotting and oral contraceptives.
- Six out of 7 million. You have a 1 in 500,000 chance of being struck, today, by lightning. And this is a 1 in 1,250,000 chance.
- Health officials say people who got the shot within the last three weeks, should look out for symptoms like shortness of breath, abdominal pain, severe headaches, and leg pain.
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI: So someone who maybe had it a month or two ago would say, what does this mean for me? It really doesn't mean anything. You're OK because if you look at the frame, the time frame, when this occurs, it's pretty tight.
- This news comes as officials continue working to overcome some public hesitancy over the shots. So experts, like Dr. Jonathan Thierman at LifeBridge Health, worry this news could spark unnecessary fear about vaccine safety.
DR. JONATHAN THIERMAN: Risks of this, whether it's this vaccine or any of the vaccines, is far lower than the risks of being seriously hurt or injured by COVID itself.
AMY KAWATA: And the FDA says its recommendation of the pause of the J&J COVID-19 vaccine is likely to last a matter of days. But Governor Hogan says he heard it could last several weeks. The CDC does have an emergency meeting scheduled for tomorrow. Live Tonight at 11:00, I'm Amy Kawata for WJZ.