U.S. recommends pausing Johnson & Johnson vaccines to review rare blood clot

There have been six reports of blood clots of the 6.8 million vaccines given.

U.S. officials are recommending a "pause" in administering the Johnson & Johnson single-dose COVID-19 vaccine while they investigate six reports of severe blood clotting among the millions of people who have gotten the vaccine.  

In a joint statement on Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration said out of the more than 6.8 million doses of the J&J vaccine that have been administered in the U.S., they're reviewing data involving six cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot called cerebral venous sinus thrombosis. 

These adverse events are "extremely rare," the statement says. The vast majority of people who have gotten the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have reported no or mild side effects. 

The six cases being investigated happened in women ages 18-48 with symptoms occurring 6-13 days after getting the shot. 

The statement notes the treatment for these blood clots is different than treatment for a normal blood clot, and using the typical treatment could be potentially "dangerous," so officials are recommending a "pause" in the use of the vaccine "out of an abundance of caution" so it can review treatment plans.

"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," the statement says. 

Anyone who develops a severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness of breath within three weeks after getting the Johnson & Johnson vaccine should contact their health care provider. Health care providers are then asked to report adverse events to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System here

The CDC and FDA plan to hold a joint news conference at 9 a.m. that will be streamed live on YouTube here

The single-shot J&J vaccine is the newest vaccine available in the U.S., and is the least administered in Minnesota, comprising just 5% (166,326) of the total shots given, with Pfizer and Moderna doses comprising 51% and 44% respectively.

You can find out how to book a COVID-19 vaccine appointment here.

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