The US CDC reported on Friday nine new cases of a rare clotting disorder in people who had received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, bringing the total number of cases to 15, but said the overall risk of developing the illness appeared to be extremely low.
The new data, presented at a meeting of the agency’s independent vaccine advisory panel, will influence whether top health officials lift last week’s recommended pause on J&J vaccinations. The FDA is considered likely to lift the pause and attach a warning to the vaccine’s label to inform health officials — and the public — about the exceedingly uncommon, but dangerous possible side effect.
During discussion with the panel, a CDC scientist reported that three women have died and seven remain hospitalised, four of whom are in the ICU. The 15 cases have all been in women, and 13 have been in women between 18 and 49 years old. Women between 30 and 39 appear to be at greatest risk, with 11.8 cases per million doses given. There have been 7 cases per million doses among women between 18 and 49. Nearly 8 million J&J doses have now been administered in the US. The clotting is “rare but clinically serious,” Dr Tom Shimabukuro of the CDC’s immunisation safety office said at the meeting.