(RxWiki News) Health officials in the United States have paused the use of one of the three approved COVID-19 vaccines.
This decision was based on rare adverse events tied to the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
As of April 12, more than 6.8 million doses of this vaccine had been administered in the US. Six women who received this COVID-19 vaccine developed a serious blood clot problem. One of these women died from the condition.
"Right now, these adverse events appear to be extremely rare," according to a statement on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website. "COVID-19 vaccine safety is a top priority for the federal government, and we take all reports of health problems following COVID-19 vaccination very seriously."
The blood clot issue tied to the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine is called cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST). It occurred in six women between the ages of 18 and 48 who had received the vaccine. All of these women also had low levels of blood platelets (thrombocytopenia), according to the CDC. Symptoms developed between six and 13 days after getting the vaccine.
Blood clots are a serious health problem. Usually, they are treatable with heparin, an anticoagulant drug. But the nature of this specific type of blood clot can make heparin dangerous for the patient, the CDC said.
The CDC and US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said they are meeting to study this issue and consider whether to continue using this vaccine.
"Until that process is complete, we are recommending a pause in the use of this vaccine out of an abundance of caution," according to the statement on the CDC website. "This is important, in part, to ensure that the health care provider community is aware of the potential for these adverse events and can plan for proper recognition and management due to the unique treatment required with this type of blood clot."
If you received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and develop shortness of breath, leg pain or stomach pain within three weeks, contact your health care provider. Health officials still advise receiving the other approved vaccines. Vaccines are still key in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, according to health experts.
Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions or concerns about the COVID-19 vaccine.