A surprise development on the vaccine front Tuesday, and not a welcome one: US health authorities are recommending a temporary halt to vaccinations with the Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine amid reports of rare clotting, reports the AP. The move by the FDA and the CDC falls short of an order to stop the shots, notes STAT News, but states are expected to abide by the recommendation. The federal agencies want time to investigate six reports of clotting in women between the ages of 18 and 48 who developed symptoms within a week or two after receiving the single-dose vaccine. The issue is similar to the one that has plagued the AstraZeneca vaccine overseas, as well as to one that surfaced in the J&J vaccine trials. The six cases are out of 6.8 million doses administered.
Both the CDC and the FDA have launched investigations. “Until that process is complete, we are recommending a pause in the use of this vaccine out of an abundance of caution,” said Dr. Anne Schuchat of the CDC and Dr. Peter Marks of the FDA in a joint statement. They said anyone who has recently received the vaccine and is experiencing symptoms such as headaches, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath should contact their doctor. The clot in question is called a cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST), and all six women also experienced low levels of blood platelets, per STAT News. (The development comes as cases are spiking in part of the US, particularly Michigan.)