The CDC and FDA have issued a joint statement, calling for a halt on the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, citing concerns over fatal blood clot incidents.
In a joint statement, Dr Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, and Dr Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the CDC, said that the two organizations were “recommending a pause in the use” of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine “out of an abundance of caution,” following reports of at least 6 cases of life-threatening blood clots in women ages 18 and 48.
— U.S. FDA (@US_FDA) April 13, 2021
As a result of the announcement, all federal facilities immediately paused their administering of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, with a number of states following shortly after. The statement added that the pause is important, “in part, to ensure that the health care provider community is aware of the potential for these adverse events and can plan for proper recognition and management due to the unique treatment required with this type of blood clot.”
The statement added that the “adverse events” in question “appeared to be” extremely rare, and that anyone who has received the Johnson and Johnson vaccine who develops “severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination,” should immediately contact their healthcare provider.
Following the joint statement, Johnson and Johnson themselves said that they would “proactively delay the rollout” of their vaccine in Europe:
The safety and well-being of the people who use our products is our number one priority. We have been working closely with medical experts and health authorities, and we strongly support the open communication of this information to healthcare professionals and the public.
The reports of blood clots from the Johnson and Johnson vaccine echo those from Europe, where the European Medicines Agency said last week there was a “clear link” between the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine and blood clots in the brain. Those affected were also mostly young and middle-aged women, and had the same type of very rare clots, known as cerebral venous thrombosis. As a result, a number of European countries, including France, Germany, and Netherlands, along with the UK, then began placing limits on giving the AstraZeneca vaccine to people below a certain age, usually around 60.
However, President Trump condemned the halt of the vaccine usage in a statement, claiming that the Biden administration has done a “terrible disservice” to the world by doing so. “The results of this vaccine have been extraordinary but now it’s reputation will be permanently challenged,” President Trump continued, claiming that the halt was perhaps done for “political reasons”:
[The FDA will] do things like this to make themselves look important. Remember, it was the FDA working with Pfizer, who announced the vaccine approval two days after the 2020 Presidential Election. They didn’t like me very much because I pushed them extremely hard. But if I didn’t, you wouldn’t have a vaccine for 3-5 years, or maybe not at all. It takes them years to act! Do your testing, clean up the record, and get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine back online quickly. The only way we defeat the China Virus is with our great vaccines!