Flash Report: Officials Halt Johnson & Johnson Vaccine

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Food and Drug Administration have stopped the use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine.  At least six people are known to have developed a rare – and severe – type of blood clot. CDC is investigating the incidents.

The six cases of cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) come among more than 6.8 million doses of the one-shot vaccine administered so far throughout the country. The instances of CVST occurred in women between 18 and 48 with low levels of blood platelets, known as thrombocytopenia. The symptoms occurred between 6 and 13 days after vaccination and include severe headaches, abdominal and leg pain, and shortness of breath.

Complicating the matter is that the anticoagulant drug heparin cannot be used in cases of CVST, requiring alternative treatments.

“Right now, these adverse events appear to be extremely rare,” CDC and FDA said in a statement. They recommend pausing the vaccine until CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices meets and assesses this development’s potential significance. FDA also is investigating these cases.

People who have received the J&J vaccine and develop the symptoms above are advised to contact their healthcare provider. Healthcare providers, in turn, are asked to report cases to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System.