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CDC Panel Concerned Over Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Risk

December 16, 2021 by Dan McCue
CDC Panel Concerned Over Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Risk
This Saturday, March 6, 2021, file photo shows vials of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine at a pharmacy in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

ATLANTA — People getting vaccinated against COVID-19 should be offered Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna shots rather than those containing the Johnson & Johnson vaccine due to an increased risk of blood clots in young and middle-aged women, a Centers for Disease Control  and Prevention panel said Thursday.

The expert panel, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, made its recommendation after reviewing data that suggests there is a higher risk for a potentially serious blood clotting condition than had previously been reported to the group.

Although the CDC still has to decide whether to accept the recommendation or not, the panel’s vote is considered a blow to Johnson & Johnson, which has seen its vaccine grow steadily out of favor in the U.S.

However, some members of the panel on Thursday said they hoped exceptions could be made in some cases, because for most people the risk of getting the shot outweighs the risk of getting COVID-19.

It is estimated that about 16 million people in the U.S. have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, compared to the 114 million who have been immunized with the Pfizer-BioNTech shot and the 73 million immunized with the Moderna vaccine.

Early on, the appeal of the Johnson & Johnson shot was that it was supposed to be a one-shot alternative to the other shots, and easier to get to more rural communities where health care facilities are few and far between.

The panel’s action comes just days after the Food and Drug Administration issued its own updated guidance on the risks of the blood-clotting disorder linked to Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine.

Dan can be reached at dan@thewellnews.com and at https://twitter.com/DanMcCue

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