Government health officials recommend a “break” in vaccination with the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. Stephen Zenner / Getty Images Hide caption
Stephen Zenner / Getty Images
Stephen Zenner / Getty Images
Federal health officials have called for a break in the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine after reports that six women who received the vaccine developed blood clots afterwards. To date, nearly 7 million people in the United States have received this vaccine.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say the blood clots are extremely rare but they are reviewing the cases. Until this review is completed, the agency has requested this sales break “out of caution”.
How concerned should you be about these rare occurrences? And how would you know if you are at risk? We have answers.
Who does these blood clots affect?
The previously reported blood clots occur in women between the ages of 18 and 48. Her symptoms appeared six to 13 days after the vaccination. Speaking at a news conference on Tuesday, Acting Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, Janet Woodcock, said at the time that there was not enough information to say whether a particular subgroup was affected.
Dr. Anne Schuchat, The CDC’s deputy chief executive added that there are currently too few cases to determine what specific risk factors could predispose someone to developing these clots.
What kind of blood clots are we talking about?
The FDA says The clots are a rare and severe type that occurs in the blood supply that drains the brain. It is called cerebral venous sinus thrombosis or CVST and is seen in combination with low blood platelet levels (a condition called a disease) Thrombocytopenia).
The symptoms of CVST vary, however You can contain Headache, blurred vision, fainting or loss of consciousness, loss of control of movement in any part of the body, seizures.
If you recently received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, should you be on the lookout for symptoms? Which?
The CDC and FDA say these events appear extremely rare, but generally occur one week to “no more than three weeks” after vaccination. The FDA says if someone develops a very severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath within three weeks of the shot, they should see a doctor and let the doctors know they’ve recently been vaccinated.
Many people who are vaccinated develop side effects, including flu-like symptoms and headaches that are not severe, within the first few days after vaccination, says Dr. Peter Marks, director of the Center for Biological Research and Evaluation at the FDA. “It would be more important if someone called an emergency room with a very bad headache or blood clot,” says Marks.
How is this condition treated?
Health officials emphasize that these clots should not be treated the way other clots are common. Most importantly, Marks said, doctors should avoid using heparin, a standard blood thinning treatment, because it “can cause tremendous damage or be fatal” in these blood clots.
But there is no easy substitute. Treatment needs to be individualized, says CDC’s Schuchat, as these patients not only have blood clots, but also fewer platelets. And that can increase the risk of increased bleeding as it makes blood more difficult to clot.
According to the FDA, patients with this rare condition should ideally be referred to doctors who are experienced in treating blood clots. The need for this particular treatment is one reason the CDC and FDA saw an urgent need to publicize this rare combination of side effects.
Do doctors know what causes these clotting events? What is the mechanism?
Scientists have a working hypothesis but don’t have complete answers. According to the FDA, the vaccine can in rare cases trigger an undesirable immune response. Instead of simply getting the body to make antibodies that protect against the coronavirus, people also make antibodies that affect platelets. That could explain why they are exhausted in people with this rare condition.
Researchers in Europe noticed this phenomenon in people who have had similar side effects after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine.