What women should know about the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine
April 27, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.
Compression ratio: 22.3%. 2 min read.
CNN Medical Analyst Dr. Leana Wen considers if women under 50 should get the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine, now with a warning label, given that it was paused due to a very rare blood clotting disorder found in six women between 18 and 49 who had gotten the shot.
The agencies previously had decided to pause administration of the vaccine due to cases of an extremely rare blood clotting disorder found in six women between the ages of 18 and 49 who had gotten the shot.
Out of the nearly 8 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine administered, the CDC said it has confirmed that there have been 15 cases total of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome, or blood clots with low platelets.
After reviewing the benefits and risks of the vaccine, an independent committee to the CDC recommended that the vaccine continue to be administered, but with additional information about the very rare possibility of TTS.
I think it's important to be honest with younger women thinking about this vaccine to explain exactly what the risk is -- and, importantly, to discuss alternatives with the two other vaccines, from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, that do not carry this risk.
The clotting disorder, TTS, that's believed to be associated with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, is a combination of blood clots and thrombocytopenia, or low platelets.
Of the 15 women with TTS after this vaccine, 13 were between the ages of 18 and 49.
It seems likely that TTS is indeed associated with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
CNN: What about women who haven't had the vaccine yet and are considering it -- would you recommend that they get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine?
There might be other, very specific reasons some women might choose the J&J vaccine.
However, for women under 50, who don't otherwise have a reason to specifically choose J&J, I'd recommend that they receive the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines instead.
That's because these two vaccines do not have a risk of TTS.
They have a completely different mechanism from the J&J and AstraZeneca vaccines -- they use the messenger RNA platform instead of adenoviral vector platforms -- and over 100 million Americans have received them with no association with TTS.
I personally think that they should have given an explicit recommendation that women under 50 be offered Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna as first-line vaccines, and Johnson & Johnson as a second-line choice.
That's because informed decision-making involves an understanding of the risks, benefits and alternatives -- and in this case, there are alternatives to the J&J vaccine that are equally effective and do not contain this rare but serious risk.