The meeting was convened after the CDC and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) suggested clinicians stop using the shot after nine reports of rare, but serious, blood clots out of 7.2 million vaccinations.
Two reports occurred in clinical trials and seven occurred after the vaccine was approved for emergency use authorization.
Eight were among women ages 18 to 59. One woman died and two are currently in critical condition.
Members of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), which develops guidelines for vaccine administration as well as schedules, appeared to want more data before proceeding with a decision.
‘ACIP does not wish to vote or put any motions on the table to vote on change to the current recommendation,’ the committee wrote in a statement.
The group is going to reconvene again in seven to 10 days, during which members will have time to review a better risk assessment, during which time the pause of J&J’s jab will continue.
The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices is delaying its vote on recommendations about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine until more data are available (file image)
The meeting came after the CDC and the FDA recommended that rollout of the vaccines be paused after less than 10 reports of rare, but serious, blood clots out of 7.2 million vaccinations
J&J’s vaccine combines genetic material from the new virus with the genes of the adenovirus – which causes the common cold – to induce an immune response.
It is the same technology the company used to make an experimental Ebola vaccine for people in the Democratic Republic of Congo in late 2019.
The vaccine was hailed as a game changer in the fight against coronavirus because it is a single-dose and it dd not have to be store at freezing temperatures unlike the Pfizer-BioNTech and the Moderna vaccines.
So it was a shock when a report found that six women who received a J&J COVID-19 vaccine had developed a cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) blood clot.
CVST is a rare type of blood clot that blocks the brain’s sinus channels of draining blood, which can cause hemorrhages.
It occurs in about five per million people in the general population.
In the six cases, CVST occurred in combination with low levels of blood platelets, also known as thrombocytopenia.
This figure of six was later updated to include nine people, but it’s not clear if the other three experienced thrombocytopenia.
It echoes concerns voiced about the AstraZeneca-University of Oxford vaccine, after Europe’s drug regulator said there was possible link between the jab and rare blood clots.
During the ACIP meeting on Wednesday, officials from J&J stated that they believe the benefits of their vaccine outweigh the risks.
However, they did suggest that those administering the shots be made aware of potential blood clots and be ready to respond if any patient develops them.
Prior to the meeting, Dr William Schaffner, a professor of preventive medicine and infectious diseases at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center and member of the ACIP, spoke with DailyMail.com.
He said that when the group does make its final decision, it will be one of four.
‘They could extend the pause, they could continue to use the vaccine, they could discontinue to use the vaccine…or they might decide to continue to use the vaccine only in certain groups,’ he said.
‘So they have a variety of options from which they could choose.’
The fourth option, only allowing certain groups to use the vaccine could include give the shot only to men or to older people only because most of the cases have occurred in younger women.
Britain’s health regulator has recommended people under the age of 30 get an alternative COVID-19 vaccine, if possible, rather than the AstraZeneca shot.
The latter occurred in the UK, where country’s health regulator Medicines and Health products Regulatory Agency recommended people under the age of 30 not get the AstraZeneca shot and instead get a different COVI-19 vaccine.
Schaffner said that Americans shouldn’t be worried about the pause because it shows that the U.S. vaccine safety system is working the way it was intended to.
‘It shows you that we are very committed to vaccine safety and when you get a so-called signal, that something may be going on, the decision was made to pause the use of the vaccine, do the investigation and then go forward with further decisions,’ he said.
He added that he is very worried that the results of the pause will make it harder to convince vaccine hesitant people to get the shot.
‘So we’re going to have to work harder to be more persuasive, to provide more comfort and reassured such that our hesitant brethren are actually brought into the fold and accept the vaccine,’ he said.
‘Each additional increment will take more work because the eager beavers have come forward already. Now we’re going to have to work on the people who are a bit more hesitant.’
Although experts say there is currently no evidence to suggest that J&J’s vaccine caused the clots, there have been no such links seen between the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines.
Schaffner says he is already seeing in his state of Tennessee the effects of vaccine hesitancy – only 30.4 percent of the population has received at least one shot – and encourages everyone to get a shot when it becomes available to them.
‘Covid continues to spread. It continues to put people into the hospital, even younger people,’ he said.
‘The way we can all protect ourselves, our families and our neighbors is to all get vaccinated just as quickly as possible.