CDC Update on Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine

The CDC and FDA have recommended a pause in the use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine out of an abundance of caution after six reported U.S. cases (out of more than 6.8 million doses) of a rare and severe type of blood clot in individuals after receiving the J&J vaccine.

In these cases, a type of blood clot called cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) was seen in combination with low levels of blood platelets (thrombocytopenia). All six cases occurred among women between the ages of 18 and 48, and symptoms occurred 6 to 13 days after vaccination. Treatment of this specific type of blood clot is different from the treatment that might typically be administered. Usually, an anticoagulant drug called heparin is used to treat blood clots. In this setting, administration of heparin may be dangerous, and alternative treatments need to be given.

Symptoms to look out for within three weeks of vaccination with J&J vaccine:

  • severe headache,
  • abdominal pain,
  • leg pain,
  • or shortness of breath.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please contact your health care provider. Health care providers are asked to report adverse events to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System. The reported cases will be further reviewed and assessed for their potential significance. FDA will also investigates these cases. Right now, these adverse events appear to be extremely rare. COVID-19 vaccine safety is a top priority for the federal government, and they are taking all reports of health problems following COVID-19 vaccination very seriously.


This post is an excerpt from the CDC’s press release on Tuesday, April 13, 2021. for more information, read the full press release for the Joint CDC and FDA Statement on Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine.external icon

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