The advisory committee of the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC, in English) of the United States recommended this Friday to resume the administration of the vaccine against covid-19 of Janssen, a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary, after a pause for the detection of several cases of thrombosis.
This recommendation will serve as a guide to the US health authorities on what to do from now on with this vaccine, whose use has been practically suspended since the Government recommended a pause on April 13 after the detection of six cases of cerebral thrombosis in women.
The 15 experts of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) of the CDC spoke mostly in favor of this recommendation in a vote, in which ten supported resuming vaccination with this serum, compared to four who opposed and one abstention, but they noted that the vaccine should be accompanied by a warning about potential health risks.
During the debate, the scientists had evaluated four options when updating the recommendation on the vaccine, which until this Friday has caused 15 cases of clots, most of them brain thromboses, in women of different ages, of which three have died. The alternatives ranged from completely discouraging its use to recommending it for all ages and genders, which has finally been imposed, but adding a caveat.
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The other two options were to warn women under 50 years of possible risks of cerebral thrombosis or to suggest its administration only to adults of both sexes older than that age. Most of the patients who developed thrombi after being vaccinated are in their 30s, although there have been cases in women between 18 and 59 years old.
All but two of those affected were under 50 years of age. During the meeting, one of the experts mentioned that there may be potential cases in vaccinated men, although they have not yet been confirmed and are being studied.
The ACIP recommendation must now be signed by CDC Director Rochelle Walensky before the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) undertakes any changes to the J&J vaccine labeling. The committee meeting was attended by representatives of J&J, who before the vote stated that they had agreed with the FDA to add to the labeling a notice that there may be a risk of blood clots.
Official US sources cited by Reuters trust that the health authorities will give the green light to continue using Janssen’s vaccine. This single-dose vaccine represents great hope for the coronavirus vaccination campaign since, in addition to being single-dose, it can be stored at refrigerator temperature and is easy to store and transport.
According to Reuters, some members of the CDC are inclined to endorse the use of Janssen without further delay because they believe that extending the hiatus could send a message to the world that the vaccine presents greater safety problems. Among nearly 7 million people vaccinated with this drug in the US, only 6 rare cases of thrombi have been recorded, all of them among women under 48 years of age.