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Philadelphia Doctor Squashes Fears Of Vaccine Hesitancy After Johnson & Johnson Shot Paused

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- There is concern the pause in the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine could fuel vaccine hesitancy. That would deal a blow to the region's effort to recover from the pandemic.

Just as more Americans started to feel more confident in COVID-19 vaccines, the pause on the J&J vaccine has some second-guessing again. One local doctor says the benefits outweigh the risks.

"Most of the people that it affects so far has been women so I definitely want to stay away from that," Lara Katzman said.

Many women are now sharing the same sentiments as this Center City resident after an advisory panel to the CDC declined to make any new recommendations on the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

For now, it remains on pause as officials investigate the rare reports of severe blood clots that have affected six women, leaving one dead.

"What's really important to note is that having COVID, the disease actually has a much, much, much higher rate of causing blood clots and death than any of these vaccines," said Dr. Rob Danoff with Jefferson Health Northeast.

Danoff says the J&J vaccine is a viral vector vaccine, which uses a common cold virus with a fragment. This way, the body is able to recognize the spike protein that's in COVID-19.

The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines work completely differently. They are mRNA vaccines.

"Those vaccines have not been shown to be associated with this rare, very rare disorder," Danoff said.

According to the data, less than one in a million people who received the J&J vaccines have experienced blood clots in the brain.

Danoff says if you have concerns about adenovirus vaccines, choose an mRNA vaccine instead.

"Go for either the Pfizer or the Moderna vaccine. They have been administered fully to over 68 million people who have received the two doses, and they work really well," he said.

Those who have already been fully vaccinated are hoping this pause doesn't deter others from being inoculated.

"I love that the CDC is being cautious and pausing to investigate the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. It is deeply ironic because birth control for women has such a higher rate of causing blood clots. I'm hoping this doesn't affect people's will to get vaccinated," Amelia Marion said.

Danoff says mRNA technology has been around for a decade, and both Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are highly effective and are being monitored very closely.

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