BOSTON (CBS) — A CDC advisory committee has decided to keep the pause on the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines in place while it gathers more information. The pause came Tuesday morning after six women out of the 7.2 million who received the single-dose shot in the United States developed “rare and severe” blood clots.
The panel heard hours of testimony Wednesday on the complications. Many panel members said they didn’t feel comfortable making a decision yet and potentially putting the vaccine back on the market. They hope to reconvene in a week to 10 days.READ MORE: Giant Pothole Damages 20 To 30 Cars On Route 1 South In Lynnfield
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health on Tuesday ordered providers in the state to stop administering the J&J vaccine. Gov. Charlie Baker said earlier Wednesday that the state was “eagerly awaiting” further guidance on the vaccine from the federal government.
Dr. Mallika Marshall said the pause is also to notify physicians and other clinicians about what they should be looking out for.
“Really safety is the ultimate goal,” Dr. Mallika Marshall said. “They want to reassure the public that this vaccine monitoring system really seems to be working, because that’s how they have been able to identify some of these very rare potential complications.”
Some public health leaders said pausing the shot is going to disproportionately affect vulnerable communities, where the shot has been used because of its convenience being just one dose.READ MORE: Map Shows Most Popular Halloween Candy For Massachusetts And Rest Of New England
“The most vulnerable individuals in the United States, who are prime candidates for the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, will remain vulnerable,” said Dr. Nirav Shah, State of Maine CDC Director.
It’s a concern in Massachusetts, too, as Mass. General Dr. Camille Kotton pointed out in Wednesday’s meeting. “We were planning on using this vaccine in the state of Massachusetts for people who are homebound and otherwise can’t get a vaccine,” said Dr. Kotton.
Massachusetts this week received 11,600 doses of J&J, which is only about 3% of the state’s total vaccine allotment. So far the state has administered nearly 200,000 J&J shots.
The White House has said the J&J issue should not have a significant impact on the country’s vaccination rollout because they make up a small percentage of the available vaccines. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which are made using a different technology, have not had any blood clot issues.
Anyone who is experiencing symptoms of a blood clot like pain or swelling in the legs, shortness of breath, severe abdominal pain or a severe headache should seek medical attention immediately. They should also let their doctor know if they got the J&J vaccine, because the type of blood clots that have been reported need to be treated differently than typical blood clots.MORE NEWS: 'Don't Take New Hampshire For Granite': Leaf Peepers Urged To Respect Nature, Hospitality Workers
Those who have already received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine should talk to their doctor if they have any concerns.