WASHINGTON – A U.S. health panel says it’s time to resume use of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine, despite a very rare risk of blood clots.
Out of nearly 8 million people vaccinated before the U.S. suspended J&J’s shot, health officials uncovered 15 cases of a highly unusual kind of blood clot, three of them fatal.
All were women, most younger than 50. But advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday the vaccine’s benefits outweigh that serious but small risk, especially against a virus that’s still infecting tens of thousands of Americans every day.
The government will rapidly weigh that recommendation in deciding next steps.
“I appreciate the importance of acting swiftly” on that advice, said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky. She hoped for “a recommendation that takes into account the risk versus reward” of using J&J’s single-dose vaccine.
European regulators earlier this week allowed the rollout of J&J’s shot after concluding those benefits outweigh what appears to be an exceedingly rare risk, and many U.S. health experts agree.