‘Conservative but smart’: Upstate Infectious Disease expert on decision to pause J&J vaccines

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(WSYR-TV) — Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 shots are on standby after the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued guidance to pause the one-dose vaccine for now.

In a joint statement, the CDC and FDA say if you have already received the Johnson and Johnson shot and develop a severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath within 3 weeks, contact your doctor.

The vaccine is now under review after reports of potentially dangerous blood clots in a small number of patients.

The pause is causing a ripple effect across Central New York, with vaccine distribution sites pivoting to offer Moderna or Pfizer shots to those who had appointments for the Johnson and Johnson dose.

While Johnson and Johnson says there’s no causal relationship between the blood clots and its vaccine, public health officials say the delay will allow them to learn more about what’s happening.

“This is, you know, 6 cases out of more than 7 million doses of vaccine. So we’re looking at something that’s occurring in a frequency of less than one in a million which is less than what we see with anaphylaxis after any vaccine. So again I think it’s a very conservative move but I think it’s a smart move,” said Dr. Stephen Thomas, Chief of Infectious Disease at Upstate Medical University.

Dr. Thomas says there will now be a thorough investigation into the blood clot cases. He says to anyone hesitant to receive a vaccine that this is a sign the regulators are doing their due diligence and to remember right now it’s one in a million who’ve reported the clotting.

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