On April 13, were released a joint CDC and FDA statement on Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.
“As of April 12, more than 6.8 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine have been administered in the U.S. CDC and FDA are reviewing data involving six reported U.S. cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot in individuals after receiving the J&J vaccine. 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). All six cases occurred among women between the ages of 18 and 48, and symptoms occurred 6 to 13 days after vaccination.
Treatment of this specific type of blood clot is different from the treatment that might typically be administered. Usually, an anticoagulant drug called heparin is used to treat blood clots. In this setting, administration of heparin may be dangerous, and alternative treatments need to be given,” – comment director – Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER) Peter Marks M.D., PhD.
VAERS is a passive reporting system, meaning it relies on individuals to send in reports of their experiences. Anyone can submit a report to VAERS, including parents and patients.
Healthcare providers are required by law to report to VAERS:
- Any adverse event listed in the VAERS Table of Reportable Events Following Vaccination that occurs within the specified time period after vaccinations
- An adverse event listed by the vaccine manufacturer as a contraindication to further doses of the vaccine
Healthcare providers are strongly encouraged to report to VAERS:
- Any adverse event that occurs after the administration of a vaccine licensed in the United States, whether it is or is not clear that a vaccine caused the adverse event
- Vaccine administration errors
Vaccine manufacturers are required to report to VAERS all adverse events that come to their attention. “Online reporting is strongly encouraged. Please report clinically important adverse events that occur after vaccination of adults and children, even if you are not sure whether the vaccine caused the adverse event,” – VAERS report.
ACIP Meeting On Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine
CDC will convene a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) on Wednesday to further review these cases and assess their potential significance. FDA will review that analysis as it also investigates these cases. Until that process is complete, we are recommending a pause in the use of this vaccine out of an abundance of caution. This 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.
Right now, these adverse events appear to be extremely rare. COVID-19 vaccine safety is a top priority for the federal government, and we take all reports of health problems following COVID-19 vaccination very seriously. People who have received the J&J vaccine who develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination should contact their health care provider. Health care providers are asked to report adverse events to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System. CDC and FDA will provide additional information and answer questions later at a media briefing.