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Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine Halted Over Blood Clot Fears

The announcement comes after the discovery of six cases of rare blood clots in people who had received the vaccine weeks ago.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have halted the use of the Johnson and Johnson (J&J) vaccine after recording six cases of people developing blood clots. 

In an announcement on Tuesday, the health bodies said the patients who are all women aged between 18 and 48 developed rare blood clots two weeks after the drug was administered, although they added the halt is out of caution. They say that they are still investigating these extremely rare cases of blood clots that can be difficult to treat.  

“This is important, in part, to ensure that the health care provider community is aware of the potential for these adverse events and can plan for proper recognition and management due to the unique treatment required with this type of blood clot” said a joint statement of the FDA and CDC adding that they will convene a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) on Wednesday to further review these cases and assess their potential significance.

They however noted that people who have received the J&J vaccine who develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination should contact their health care provider for necessary health intervention. 

Meanwhile after this announcement, Johnson and Johnson also released a statement saying they will share all adverse event reports about individuals receiving their COVID-19 vaccine, along with their assessment of these reports, with health authorities in compliance with regulatory standards.

"We are aware that thromboembolic events including those with thrombocytopenia have been reported with COVID-19 vaccines.  At present, no clear causal relationship has been established between these rare events and the COVID-19 vaccine. We continue to work closely with experts and regulators to assess the data and support the open communication of this information to healthcare professionals and the public”, the statement reads. 

The J& J vaccine blood clot concerns come less than a week after the European Medicines Agency recommended that unusual blood clots with low blood platelets should be added as a possible adverse side effect of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine which has been used widely in especially Africa and Europe.  

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