A federal advisory panel Wednesday declined to vote on how Johnson & Johnson ’s Covid-19 vaccine should be used, saying it needs more time to gather information on the risk of the vaccine following reports of cases of rare but severe blood clots that developed in a few recipients.
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, or ACIP, said Wednesday it doesn’t have enough information yet about the risk of these unusual side effects to determine whether the vaccine should be continued, discontinued or recommended only for certain groups of the population.
The ACIP expects to meet again in another week or two to revisit the issue. U.S. health officials on Tuesday recommended that use of the J&J vaccine be paused while they investigate.
The ACIP, which advises the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on vaccination policy, met to review clinical data gathered to date on six women between the ages of 18 and 48 years old who developed clots in vessels draining blood from their brains and in some cases other parts of the body after receiving J&J’s vaccine. More than 7.2 million doses of the J&J vaccine have been administered in the U.S.; about 1.5 million of those doses went to women between ages 18 and 50 years.
While Wednesday’s discussion was limited to six cases, CDC officials said they expect more will come to light, either cases that have gone unrecognized or that may yet occur. About 52% of the J&J doses to date were administered within the past two weeks.