(Washington) The suspension of the administration of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the United States has been extended by at least a week, a panel of experts met on Wednesday that said they need more time to assess its potential links to training severe blood clots.
A group of experts convened at the request of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the leading US public health agency, after discovering six cases of women, one of whom died, after suffering severe cases of associated blood clots. With low levels of platelets after injection, in the United States.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine has already been given to 7.5 million people in the United States, and the seventh case, a 28-year-old woman, was raised during the meeting.
Experts could have decided to limit the vaccine to parts of the population, but most said they needed to study more data before making a decision.
“I don’t want anyone to point out that there is a fundamental flaw in this vaccine,” said Beth Bell, chair of the panel of experts.
“But I want to be able to understand and defend the decision I made based on a reasonable amount of data,” she added.
The date of the next meeting has not yet been set, but it is expected to take place in the next 7-10 days.
Some members of the group spoke out against keeping the gap, fearing it would have a stronger effect on vulnerable groups, who are easily reached with this single-dose vaccine that can be stored in refrigerators.
But the majority considered that due to the severity of blood clots, which can have devastating neurological consequences even if they are not fatal, and given the large stock of other available vaccines, further study is needed.
According to group presentations, the first six cases identified were all of white women with no history of blood clots, and one was on an estrogen / progesterone contraceptive treatment.
For the elderly?
The deceased woman was 45 years old, and three women also had blood clots outside the brain.
Although the link has not been shown to the vaccine, scientists consider it the “possible cause” of this phenomenon.
The director of the CDC, Rochelle Wallinski, said before the meeting that the symptoms were similar to the rare side effects seen after the AstraZeneca vaccine was administered in Europe.
The technology that uses the vector adenoviruses, which the two vaccines use, as well as Russia’s Sputnik V and the Chinese Kansino, is now under scrutiny.
Individuals who have previously received a Johnson & Johnson vaccine should contact their doctor if they experience certain symptoms, such as migraines, abdominal pain, leg pain, or difficulty breathing.
Doctors also advised against treating this type of blood clot with the usual anticoagulants, such as heparin, which have been shown to be dangerous in this condition.
At the next meeting, experts may recommend the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for seniors only. Since they are more acutely vulnerable to contracting COVID-19, it is in their best interest to get vaccinated despite the potential side effects.
But US officials have confirmed that they have enough Moderna and Pfizer vaccines to meet the needs of the adult population by the end of July, which could allow them to dispense with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.