US health agencies are calling for the use of the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine to be paused after six people developed a “rare & severe type of blood clot” after receiving it.
The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) said they were investigating six cases out of more than 6.8 million administered doses.
They said the “adverse events appear to be extremely rare” and noted that they were recommending the pause, "out of an abundance of caution."
The recommendation is expected to see the US Government pausing the use of the vaccine at all federally-run sites.
Officials expect individual states to follow suit.
The company began delivering its first doses to Europe yesterday.
Ireland expects to get more than 600,000 doses by the end of June.
— U.S. FDA (@US_FDA) April 13, 2021
The New York Times reports that all six cases were women between the ages of 18 and 48.
It said one woman has died and another is in a critical condition in hospital.
The FDA noted that “treatment of this specific type of blood clot is different from the treatment that might typically be administered” and there are concerns doctors may not be trained in diagnosing it.
An emergency meeting of the CDC Advisory Committee has been scheduled for tomorrow.
“Until that process is complete, we are recommending this pause,” the FDA said.
“This is important to ensure that the health care provider community is aware of the potential for these adverse events and can plan due to the unique treatment required with this type of blood clot.”
The type of blood clot developed by recipients of the J&J jab, known as cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) is the same as that linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine, according to the European Medicines Agency.
The EMA investigated 62 reports of CVST and 24 reports of splanchnic vein thrombosis (SVT). It noted that the cases were detected among around 25 million patients who had been vaccinated.
The National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) has since said the jab should not be offered to people aged under 60.