CDC and FDA recommend pausing the distribution of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine

Concerns were raised after appearances of 'rare blood clots'

 An Army medic removes vials of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine from a box at a vaccination site.
(Image credit: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

The US Center for Disease Control and Food and Drug Administration is recommending a pause of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine after a small number of people have experienced "a rare and severe type of blood clot." 

Around 6.8 million people have received the single-dose shot, and out of those recipients, six people have reportedly experienced a rare form of a blood clot called a cerebral venous sinus thrombosis. 

In response, the FDA and CDC issued a joint statement saying that they were "recommending a pause in the use of this vaccine out of an abundance of caution." The health agencies further advised people that these "adverse events" are "extremely rare."

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The six patients who have experienced this rare blood clot have so far been women between the ages of 18 to 48-years-old and occurred six to 13 days after receiving the vaccination.

The CDC and FDA are currently conducting their own investigations to determine the cause of these occurrences. On Wednesday, the CDC plans to reconvene with the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (who provide guidance on vaccines) to review the cases and "assess their potential significance."

Until more investigation has happened, the vaccine will be put on pause. The agencies wish to help prepare the health community to recognize and treat any more potential occurrences of these adverse events if there is a confirmed connection between the vaccine and these rare blood clots.

Nurses give shots of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to people in cars at a drive-thru vaccination site targeted to Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders at Michael McCoy Elementary School.

(Image credit: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Johnson & Johnson is aware of the blood clot appearances and issued a statement describing its current thoughts on the relationship between the vaccine and the blood clot occurrences.

"No clear causal relationship has been established between these rare events" and the shot.

They continued by adding what the plan of action is, stating, "We have been working closely with medical experts and health authorities, and we strongly support the open communication of this information to healthcare professionals and the public," the statement read.

In regards to the vaccine rollout in Europe, Johnson & Johnson have decided "to proactively delay the rollout of our vaccine in Europe" until more information is gathered.

Rylee Johnston

Rylee is a U.S. news writer who previously worked for woman&home and My Imperfect Life covering lifestyle, celebrity, and fashion news. Before joining woman&home and My Imperfect Life, Rylee studied journalism at Hofstra University where she explored her interests in world politics and magazine writing. From there, she dabbled in freelance writing covering fashion and beauty e-commerce for outlets such as the TODAY show, American Spa Magazine, First for Women, and Woman’s World.