Recently, federal healthcare agencies have advised Johnson & Johnson to cease administering their COVID-19 vaccine temporarily. According to Reuters, this advice was given after six women under fifty developed blood clotting following the shot. Business Insider reports that the women were between the ages of eighteen and forty-eight and now suffer from a blood clot in the brain called central venous sinus thrombosis (CVST). Overall, 6.8 million Americans have had the J&J vaccine.
In response to these concerns, Johnson & Johnson has privately asked other vaccine companies to join them in studying the causes of blood clots post-vaccination. According to Business Insider, Anthony Fauci has stated that the study could take “days to weeks.” The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have not reported any blood clotting symptoms, so they opted to refrain from taking part in the investigation. The Economic Times states that Pfizer and Moderna do not feel the need to join because the other companies “were already looking for blood-clot cases and investigating the cause.” The Wall Street Journal reports that some are suspicious that the two companies do not want their shots to be “tarnished by association” to J&J. Regardless of these claims, Moderna and Pfizer feel that their vaccines’ positive track records do not warrant them joining the investigation.
The study will be led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA), who will discern if J&J’s vaccine is the actual cause of the blood clots. The CDC and FDA stated that “Until that process is complete, we are recommending a pause in the use of this vaccine out of an abundance of caution”. As of yet, it is not clear whether the inactivated virus contained in the J&J and AstraZeneca shots is the culprit for CVST clotting.
However, AstraZeneca agreed to join, as they are having similar blood-clotting difficulties. The European Medicines Agency believes that the risk of blood clotting from the AstraZeneca vaccine is very low. Regardless, Europe has put the company’s vaccine on a brief hold. European officials will also investigate four individuals who have experienced blood clotting after the J&J vaccine.
Although Modern and Pfizer do not feel that they need to join the study, they have had extremely rare cases of blood clotting in patients who have taken their vaccines. During a recent appearance at the American Medical Association, Peter Marks, the director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, stated that three out of sixty-eight million had contracted CVST from rounds of Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. Moderna has claimed that there is no correlation between their vaccines and CVST blood clotting.
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