Health authorities in the United States paused the use of the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine for 10 days after a small number of people suffered unusual and scary side effects. According to NBC, the pause came after six people developed cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) in the days that followed their shot; CVST happens when blood clot forms in the brain, and Johns Hopkins has noted that it typically occurs in roughly 5 people per 1 million annually.
The CDC has now lifted the pause on the vaccine, after a panel made up of CDC and FDA experts voted to resume vaccinations. NPR reports that the CDC also declined to add a warning to the shot amid fears that it would cause more people to avoid getting the vaccine altogether.
However, quite a few people believe the CDC should at least attach a warning to the shot for the group of people most likely at risk: women who are below the age of 50.
Some people are calling for a warning to be attached to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine
Dr. Ashish Jha, the dean of Brown University’s School of Public Health, publicly called for the CDC to add a warning to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Jha noted that the vaccine doesn’t need to be paused for everyone, tweeting, “Keeping vaccine paused for everyone makes little sense” and then added, “ACIP should have recommended continuing pause for women 18-49 but resuming for everyone else.”
CBS has reported that at least three women have died after developing CVST following their shots, and sixteen women in total ended up with the condition. Of the remaining 13 women, 7 are still hospitalized. So far, over 8 million doses of the vaccine have been administered, and experts believe the benefits far outweigh the risks.
Dr. Beth Bell, who was part of the CDC panel, explained, “The benefits do clearly outweigh the risks from a population perspective and an individual perspective, and I think it’s reassuring to me anyway that while we don’t have all the information, I think we do have enough information to move forward.”
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