New York Daily News: MANHATTAN, NY – Federal health agencies on Tuesday called for a pause in the distribution of Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccines to investigate whether a rare and severe type of blood clot may be linked to the single-shot treatment.

The Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Protection said in a joint statement that the suspension was “out of an abundance of caution” after six women who received the J&J shot were diagnosed with blood clots.

The women ranged in age from 18 to 48 years old. One died and a second was hospitalized in critical condition.

Nearly 7 million Americans have received the J&J vaccine, the vast majority with no or mild side effects.

“Right now, these adverse events appear to be extremely rare,” the statement read. “COVID-19 vaccine safety is a top priority for the federal government, and we take all reports of health problems following COVID-19 vaccination very seriously.”

Federal distribution channels, including mass vaccination sites, will pause administering the vaccine, with states and other providers expected to follow suit. The more common Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are not affected by the pause.

Johnson & Johnson said in a statement Tuesday that they were aware of the blood clots, or “thromboembolic events,” but noted that “no clear causal relationship has been established between these rare events and the Janssen Covid-19 vaccine.”

New York City Councilmember Mark Levine, who chairs the council’s health committee, called the suspension “a huge blow to vaccination in NYC.” He noted that some of the city’s targeted vaccination programs exclusively use the J&J shot.

“I know this was done to maintain confidence in the vaccines. Worried it will have the opposite effect,” Levine tweeted Tuesday morning. “NYC now has the biggest messaging challenge yet in vaccination. We have to do everything possible to avoid a collapse in confidence in vaccination overall.”

The CDC’s Advisory committee on Immunizations practices was scheduled to meet Wednesday to discuss the blood clot cases. The FDA will further analyze the data.

Until that process is complete, experts are directing those who have received the J&J vaccine pay particularly close attention to any symptoms. Anyone experiencing severe headaches, abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness of breath within three weeks after receiving the shot should contact their health care provider.

With News Wire Services

  • Top Feature Photo: April 8, 2021 file photo, the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine sits on a table at a pop up vaccinations site the Albanian Islamic Cultural Center, in Staten Island, New York. The U.S. is recommending a “pause” in administration of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to investigate reports of potentially dangerous blood clots – Mary Altaffer/AP