The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reports of 28 people who have developed a rare blood clotting syndrome after being given the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine.
Three people have died, with no additional deaths since the last update in April, the CDC’s Dr. Tom Shimabukuro told a meeting of CDC vaccine advisers Wednesday. He said 8.7 million people have been given the Janssen vaccine.
The CDC has said the condition, thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS), is plausibly linked to J&J’s Janssen vaccine, but has said the benefits of the vaccine nonetheless outweigh the risk. All cases have been seen in people ages 18 to 59. “Most of the these TTS cases are occurring in the 30-49 year-old age group,” Shimabukuro said.
While most cases were among women, six cases were reported among men, Shimabukuro told the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. He said 19 had a type of brain blood clot called thrombosis of the cerebral venous sinus, or CVST, while others had different types of blood clots.
The CDC has alerted doctors and the patients about the possibility of the complication so it can be recognized and treated promptly and properly.
“There were no cases with a known or documented coagulation disorder,” Shimabukuro said. That indicates it’s difficult to predict who might develop the condition.
“It is important to recognize TTS early and initiate appropriate treatment,” he added. “TTS is a rare, clinically serious and life-threatening condition.”
The CDC and FDA paused administration of the Janssen vaccine from April 13-23. Since then, any new cases of TTS have been evenly split between women and men, the CDC’s Dr. Sara Oliver told ACIP.
Fewer women are now being given the Janssen vaccine, she said – especially women ages 18 to 49.
“We have updated the risk-benefit analysis with the updated incidence of TTS,” she said. “The benefits still outweigh the risk and … no updates to vaccine policy are needed.”