Federal officials on Friday lifted their recommended pause on the use of the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine following a small number of rare and severe blood clots in people who received the shot.
The pause, which was recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration, lasted 10 days. The agencies said in a press release that they “have confidence that this vaccine is safe and effective in preventing COVID-19.”
“Above all else, health and safety are at the forefront of our decisions,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said in a statement. “Our vaccine safety systems are working. We identified exceptionally rare events – out of millions of doses of the Janssen COVID-19 administered – and we paused to examine them more carefully. As we always do, we will continue to watch all signals closely as more Americans are vaccinated”
The agencies’ move comes just hours after a CDC advisory committee gave its endorsement to resume using the vaccine in people ages 18 and older.
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The committee’s emergency meeting was called after the CDC and FDA last week recommended a pause in the use of the vaccine “out of an abundance of caution” after six women developed a rare and severe type of blood clot following the single-dose shot.
By Friday, experts told the committee that the total cases had increased to 15 incidents, including three deaths. All the cases were in women and most were under the age of 50.
According to CDC data, nearly 8 million doses of the vaccine have been administered. An additional nearly 10 million doses have been delivered to states and territories and are ready for use.
Federal officials said they will continue to monitor the vaccine’s health and safety data. Anyone who received the vaccine and experienced symptoms like severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness of breath in the three weeks following the shot should alert their health care provider.