What To Make of the J&J Pause?

While the CDC and FDA review data today on reports that 6 women experienced very rare but serious blood clots in the brain after receiving the Johnson & Johnson jab, public health experts offered advice–and reassurance that the risk is low–-to the ~7million who already received the 1-dose vaccine in the US, The Washington Post reports.

Possible blood clot symptom to watch for: Headaches, leg pain, abdominal pain, and shortness of breath 6–13 days after receiving the shot

Received the jab over a month ago? The risk is “very low,” the CDC’s Anne Schuchat said Tuesday, CNN reports.
The side effect—cerebral venous sinus thrombosis—is the same one that raised concerns over the AstraZeneca vaccine, STAT notes.

But with both vaccines, these events are extremely rare. People have a greater chance of being struck by lightning, tweeted Ashish Jha.

Birth control pills, smoking, and COVID itself all pose a greater clotting risk, tweeted Laurence Devesse.
The extreme rarity of these incidents have many wondering if pausing the rollout is an overreaction that will breed unnecessary hesitancy.

But: The pause—and the transparency—is promising, and impactful, according to ER physician Craig Spencer.
Take his patient who got the J&J vaccine last week: “She had symptoms that overlap with those we were told to look out for. Today’s announcement changed my differential diagnosis & impacted my clinical management. That’s exactly what it was meant to do. It’s also how we’ll get the data we need.”

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