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CDC, FDA Recommend US Pause Use Of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 Vaccine Over Blood Clot Concerns

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommended pausing the use of the one-shot Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to investigate whether it caused some rare blood clots and linked to one death.

Based on the recommendations from federal health officials, vaccine providers in the Philadelphia region, including health departments and retail facilities, have stopped using the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. For people who've already received it, the risk of complications is very low.

"You want to make sure that safety is the important issue here," Dr. Anthony Fauci said Tuesday. "We are totally aware that this is a very rare event. We want to get this worked out as quickly as we possibly can."

Officials say there have been six reported cases of blood clots out of more than 6.8 million doses delivered. All six cases occurred in women between the ages of 18 and 48 and their symptoms developed six to 13 days after receiving the vaccination.

"So, this is a setback, but I would consider it to be a small setback in an overall program that is very successful," Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said.

The blood clots associated with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine occurred in veins that drain blood from the brain and were combined with low platelets, fragments in the blood that normally form clots.

Doctors are being cautioned against using the standard treatment of heparin because, in this setting, it could be dangerous.

Several Philadelphia-Area Vaccination Clinics Temporarily Close After FDA, CDC Recommend Pausing Use Of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 Vaccine

For people who recently received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, they should watch out for these symptoms and get medical attention if they develop: Severe headache, abdominal, leg pain and shortness of breath.

"The action today reflects the federal government's commitment, to protect Americans," Pennsylvania acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam said. "The protocols in place should give Pennsylvanians confidence in the safety and effectiveness in the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine."

Johnson & Johnson issued a statement saying, "At present no clear causal relationship has been established between these rare events and its vaccine."

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine accounted for a small percentage of the vaccine supply.

Now anyone scheduled to receive it will either get the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines that are plentiful and there have been no problems with either of those vaccines.

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