Vaccine advisers to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention could be asked to decide whether to recommend extending the pause on giving out Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccines.
The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices is holding an emergency meeting Wednesday to discuss cases of rare blood clots that may or may not be linked with J&J’s coronavirus vaccine.
They will be asked whether to modify their recommendations for the vaccine, the CDC’s Dr. Sara Oliver said. They may also be asked to consider a recommendation to extend the pause in administering vaccines.
“This could potentially allow for a more informed, specific recommendations for the Janssen vaccine,” Oliver told the meeting. The committee may recommend giving the vaccine only to certain age groups, since most cases appear to be among people under the age of 50, or perhaps only to men, as most cases of the rare blood clots have been among women.
“We could evaluate the risk by age, an informed possible age based recommendation. It would also allow for further assessment to see if the thrombocytopenic thrombotic risk extends beyond CVST cases,” she added.
The concerning cases involve a rare type of blood clot, known as cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST), that is found in combination with a condition known as thrombocytopenia – a low level of important blood clotting cells called platelets.
“However extension of the pause could have broad consequences. Individuals may want to receive the Janssen vaccine. In addition, a pause could have global implications, such as pausing clinical trials or limiting the ability of the Janssen vaccine in other countries with more limited vaccine supply,” Oliver said.
The ACIP will vote later Wednesday on its recommendations.