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Texas health officials on Friday told vaccine providers across the state that they could resume using the one-dose COVID-19 vaccine Johnson & Johnson vaccine in all adult recipients after a federal advisory panel recommended that it be reinstated. The recommendations comes 11 days after use of that particular vaccine was paused over a small number of reports of a rare but serious clotting side effect in recipients.
On Friday afternoon, the CDC advisory panel said that the benefits of vaccination far outweigh the clotting risk associated with the shot. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was expected to offer its official guidance mirroring the panel's recommendations later Friday.
The news comes a day after state health officials said that a Texas woman who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine had been hospitalized with blood clots and whose condition was being investigated by the CDC as potentially connected to the vaccine. No other details were released.
CDC officials Friday reported 15 total cases reported of the clotting syndrome connected to the vaccines— all in women, mostly in those under 50. Three of them died. Nearly 8 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine that have been administered nationwide.
Some 616,000 Johnson & Johnson doses had been administered in Texas before the vaccine’s use was paused 11 days ago, said Imelda Garcia, associate commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services.
The CDC panel on Friday grappled with whether to include language in its recommendation warning women under age 50 that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine poses an increased risk to their age group of the clotting syndrome and that they have other vaccine options.
“This is an age group that is not at risk, that is getting this vaccine predominantly to save other people’s lives and morbidity, not their own, and I think we have a responsibility to be certain that they know this, and if they choose to be vaccinated with this anyhow, we want to respect that choice,” said Dr. Sarah Long, a panelist and professor of pediatrics at Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia. “But I am very sorry that we haven’t chosen to put, up front, the knowledge that we have that this … is almost certainly related to the vaccine and there are [other] options.”
Neither the Pfizer nor Moderna two-dose regimens have been connected to the clotting side effect, CDC officials said Friday.
Ultimately, the panel voted 10-4 to leave it out the warning, with most on the panel agreeing that it could be confusing and that providers can inform recipients of the side effect. The new information that will be added to the vaccine’s emergency use authorization approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.