Watch CBS News

UChicago Medicine's Dr. Emily Landon Has Message For Those Who Might Be Worried After Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine Administration Is 'Paused'

CHICAGO (CBS) -- With administration of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine having been paused due to concerns about a blood clotting issue, we asked viewers if the development affects their decision to get a vaccine.

Most people – more than 75 percent - said no.

More than 60 percent also said no when we asked if the Johnson & Johnson suspension would lead them to try to get a different type of COVID-19 vaccine shot.

Still, some people are now on the fence. Dr. Emily Landon, an infectious disease specialist from UChicago Medicine, joined CBS 2's Brad Edwards Tuesday evening to explain what she would tell people who have doubts because of the Johnson & Johnson pause.

"I think it's really important to remember that even if it does turn out to be related, it is extremely rare. The likelihood of catching COVID is much, much higher – and then your risk of death is one in 100, not one in a million," Landon said. "So it's time for our researchers and our regulators to figure out who can safely get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and let them continue to get it. Everyone else can be pushed toward the Moderna and Pfizer, which are completely different and do not seem to have any problems with clotting whatsoever, so it should be fine to get those instead."

The blood clotting issues under investigation specifically affected six women between the ages of 18 and 48. Edwards asked Landon what she was telling her patients who fall into that demographic.

"First, take a deep breath. The likelihood of you being the one in a million person who has this bad side effect of the vaccine – even if it is or isn't related – is lower than the likelihood of you getting struck by lightning, which is actually one in 500,000, not one in a million. So if you are concerned – if you have any symptoms – reach your doc, call back, ask questions, make sure you get your questions answered, set a time to touch base. You can always get care and evaluation," Landon said. "But it's so important for you to remember that this is so unlikely to be a problem for you individually. In fact, it wouldn't surprise me if not a single person in Chicago, or not a single person in Illinois even, has any bad reaction to this vaccine."

So with such an infinitesimal number of people involved, why did the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration call for the pause on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the first place? Landon said despite the figures involved, it was not an overreaction.

"This is exactly what we expect of the FDA and the CDC. They are incredibly careful. So for everyone out there who's hesitant to get a vaccine, let this be a sign unto you that these – our regulatory agencies and our health expectations for these vaccines – is really, really high," Landon said. "We don't cut any corners."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.