US panel urges restarting vaccinations with Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 shot

Coronavirus

FILE – In this March 6, 2021, file photo, boxes stand next vials of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine in the pharmacy of National Jewish Hospital for distribution in Denver. U.S. health officials are weighing next steps as they investigate unusual blood clots in a small number of people given the vaccine — a one-dose shot that many countries hoped would help speed protection against the pandemic. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

WASHINGTON — A CDC panel has urged restarting vaccinations with Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 shot Friday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration said on April 13 they were investigating unusual clots that occurred 6 to 13 days after vaccination. The clots occurred in veins that drain blood from the brain and occurred together with low platelets. All six cases were in women between the ages of 18 and 48; there was one death and all remained under investigation.

The reports appear similar to a rare, unusual type of clotting disorder that European authorities say is possibly linked to another COVID-19 vaccine not yet cleared in the U.S., from AstraZeneca.

More than 6.8 million doses of the J&J vaccine have been given in the U.S., the vast majority with no or mild side effects.

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.

This is a developing story.

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