A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory committee recommended Friday that Covid-19 inoculations with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine begin again.
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices found the benefits outweighed the risks as a small group of recipients developed blood clots. There are now 15 such cases confirmed. All the cases have been discovered in women. Thirteen of them those patients were between 18 and 49 years old.
The panel recommended the vaccine carry a warning about the rare risk of blood clots. Federal health officials are expected to make the final call shortly.
The news broke during a media briefing with Los Angeles County public health officials. The region’s chief science officer, Dr. Paul Simon, indicated that L.A. County is “prepared to resume very quickly.”
Simon said the county has been preparing and is in the final phases of developing educational materials to help people be informed about the risks vs. the rewards of J&J.
“Some of the concerns — the community concerns — about the J&J vaccine we’ll have to address,” said Simon. “Intuitively, I would have thought this would be be a big setback, but we have some data that indicates that may not be so.”
The one-shot J&J medication would be used in “locations where we’re less confident that people will show up for a second dose,” he said. “We’re going to use these vaccines strategically.”
But Dr. Simon said that the county could not resume using the vaccine just yet.
“We have to wait until the CDC and the FDA sign off,” he said. “After that it will be 1-2 days. We don’t want to wait.”
He estimated L.A. County has about “13,000 doses of J&J in our network” at the moment. “There is some reserve here that we can use immediately, but it’s very unsure what the deliveries will be [going forward].”
Supplies of Pfizer and Moderna doses are ramping up, so J&J delays should not be an issue. “There’s plenty off vaccine out there,” said Dr. Simon.
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