The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Thursday recommended Americans choose to get Pfizer or Moderna Covid-19 vaccines instead of Johnson & Johnson's (J&J) shot, due to increased risk of dangerous blood clots.
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The CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization (ACIP) voted unanimously to make the recommendation based on 50 identifiable cases of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS). Scientists say each reported case typically represents 10,000 to 100,000 additional cases that are never officially detected in reporting systems.
TTS involves blood clots accompanied by a low level of platelets. The disorder has have previously been reported in recipients of the J&J vaccine. The highest reporting rates are in women under age 50.
The CDC says that the rate of such incidents is higher than previously estimated in both women and men. The agency also acknowledges that at least nine people are known to have died following the blood clotting incidents in the U.S.
In April, US regulators paused administering the vaccine for 10 days in order to investigate the blood clotting issue. On Thursday, a CDC scientist said that the rate of deaths from TTS continued to be worrisome when use of the vaccination resumed.
According to the CDC, around 16 million people in the US have gotten the J&J shot so far.
In response to CDC's announcement, J&J says that safety is its top priority and the company looks forward to working with the CDC on its next steps.
Meantime, some other Covid-19 vaccines have been associated with possible blood clots and blood disorders. Below is some of the information compiled at SharylAttkisson.com. Read full information on Covid-19 vaccine concerns and studies here.
Blood Clots and Blood Disorders
Updated Oct. 6, 2021: Slovenia has temporarily halted Johnson & Johnson vaccine after a stroke death in a 20 year old woman.
In late June, the first case of a blood clot disorder called "thrombosis with thrombocytopenia" after an RNA double-dose vaccine was been reported in the Annals of Internal Medicine. The case was that of a 65-year-old man who developed symptoms ten days after his second dose of the Moderna vaccine. Because the blood clot disorder was not previously warned about in the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, doctors treated the patient with heparin, the very drug that's not supposed to be used in post-vaccine patients suffering from the disorder because it could actually worsen the condition.
The Johnson and Johnson Covid-19 vaccine was temporarily removed from the market in the U.S. on April 16, 2021 while health officials studied reports of blood clot injuries. Among them was an 18-year old teen named Emma Burkey, who got sick about a week after the Johnson and Johnson Covid-19 vaccine and ended up having three brain surgeries related to blood clots and seizures.
The Johnson and Johnson vaccine was allowed back on the market April 27, 2021 with new warnings about the disorder.
Swedish health officials determined that people under age 65 should not get the Johnson and Johnson vaccine due to reports of blood clots.
An editorial published in the Journal of the American Medical Association recommended women under age 50 avoid the Johnson and Johnson Covid-19 vaccine due to concerns about blood clots. The recommendation discussed 12 case reports of a blood disorder known as cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) with thrombocytopenia following the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.
The AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine (not currently approved in the U.S.) has been linked to a dangerous disorder involving blood clots with low blood platelets. On April 7, 2021, the European Medicines Agency says it made the association after it analyzed 62 cases of cerebral venous sinus thrombosis and 24 cases of splanchnic vein thrombosis reported in the EU drug safety database (EudraVigilance) as of March 22, 2021; 18 of which were fatal.
An otherwise healthy South Florida doctor, Gregory Michael, died of a brain hemorrhage 16 days after he got Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine. Authorities concluded he died of a blood disorder called “immune thrombocytopenia” (ITP) that can prevent blood from clotting and cause internal bleeding. His wife said a blood test showed the level of his platelets to be at “zero.” She said before the shot, Dr. Michael had “absolutely no medical issues” and no underlying conditions. However, authorities later categorized his death as “natural.”
In Spain, the AstraZeneca shot has been restricted in people under age 60 due to reports of blood clots in younger people.
Bulgaria, Iceland and Norway halted AstraZeneca shots for a time due to blood issues or impact on frail. Iceland, and possibly others, reinstated it in people over age 70 and, perhaps, in some over age 60.
Austria, Italy and Romania banned certain "lots" or batches of the AstraZeneca shots.
Denmark stopped using the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine altogether as well as the Johnson and Johnson vaccine after investigations into blood clots, saying "the benefits of using the COVID-19 vaccine from Johnson & Johnson do not outweigh the risk of causing the possible adverse effect in those who receive the vaccine."
The Italian government recently restricted AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine to adults over age 60 after a teenager who got the shot died from a rare form of blood clotting. Eighteen-year-old Camilla Canepa died after getting vaccinated May 25, 2021.
Several other European countries have also stopped giving the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine to people below a certain age, usually ranging from 50 to 65.
Updated Sept. 9, 2021: An August 10 study in JAMA Cardiology urged caution in giving Covid-19 vaccine to certain high risk patients due to the vaccine link to a serious blood disorder: thrombocytopenia with thrombosis. "One of the devastating manifestations of this syndrome, termed vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT), is cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST)," say the study authors. The link involves the AstraZeneca/Oxford and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, according to the study. The AstraZeneca vaccine is not administered in the U.S. currently.
Updated Oct. 3, 2021: The European Medicines Agency recommended that blood clotting in deep veins and immune thrombocytopenia (ITP), a bleeding disorder caused by the body mistakenly attacking platelets, be added as adverse reactions to Johnson and Johnson vaccine. The ITP disorder is also linked to the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines, which are not used in the U.S.
Read the CDC's media statement here.