DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – In the last few weeks, Dr. Charles Powell’s team has administered has more than 250 Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines with no issues.
“With the J&J vaccine we’re required to report any incidents or side effects and thus far, we have not seen any,” the Chief Medical Officer of Healthcare Associates of Texas said.
Several of his patients were scheduled to get the vaccine this week, but this morning the CDC and FDA announced pausing its use.
Of the 6.8 million Americans who have received the vaccine so far, six women between the ages 18 and 48 have experienced a rare and severe type of blood clot.
Symptoms occurred 6 to 13 days after vaccination.
“The initial thought did stimulate some concern,” Powell said. “But as we looked deeper into it looking back to a 2016 study, this actual type of clot is just as prevalent, if not more prevalent, in the general population. The fact is, it’s still a little too early to know.”
“Out of an abundance of caution we’re recommending the pause,” Acting Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, Dr. Janet Woodcock said.
“For people who recently got the vaccine within the last couple weeks, they should be aware to look for any symptoms,” CDC Principal Deputy Director Dr. Anne Schuchat said.
These symptoms include abdominal pain, leg pain, severe headache and shortness of breath.
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, contact your health care provider.
“For people who got the vaccine more than a month ago, the risk for them is very low at this time,” Schuchat said.
The CDC and FDA says they’re now giving healthcare providers time to make benefit risk determinations for their patients.
“The steps we’re taking today are meant to make sure that the healthcare system is ready to diagnose, treat and report and that you the American public has the information you need to stay safe,” Schuchat said.
“Pausing the program never causes any harm,” Powell said. “Obviously, we want to get the vaccine out to as many people as we can, but this is a vaccine that a lot of people viewed as rushed to the market and putting those cautions in there we may not have normally is essential.”
This pause will also allow the CDC’s expert committee to review the situation.
They’ll meet Wednesday, April 14 to consider next steps and an update is expected in the days ahead.