A joint statement by the FDA and CDC today states that the U.S. would stop using the J&N vaccine immediately due to reports of rare blood clots in woman recipients.
The FDA statement reported that, “In these cases, a type of blood clot called cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) was seen in combination with low levels of blood platelets (thrombocytopenia),” said Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the CDC and Dr. Peter Marks, director of the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research. “All six cases occurred among women between the ages of 18 and 48, and symptoms occurred 6 to 13 days after vaccination.”
If you have received the J&J vaccine and have head aches or trouble with vision or walking, you should immediately contact your physician.
These very rare events are remarkably similar to those associated with the AstraZeneca vaccine, recently suspended in some parts of the EU for this issue. It is interesting that both vaccines are based on adenoviruses. These are large, DNA viruses that cause cold symptoms. The viruses are genetically modified to express the spike protein from the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19. The Russian and a Chinese vaccine are based on similar technology and should be examined for this problem.
There are some suggestions as to why this might be happening with the adenovirus vaccines. The clots seem to result from an autoimmune response to a protein on platelets called platelet factor 4. It is possible that an immune reaction to the adenovirus in the vaccine causes the reaction to platelet factor 4.
It is important to remember that this is NOT an issue with Pfizer or Moderna vaccines! We also have enough of these two excellent vaccines to immunize the entire adult U.S. population. We should also be working to increase their production to supply them around the world.