LOS ANGELES (CNS) – Questions about the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19
vaccine were raised this morning following reports that federal health agencies
have recommended an immediate pause in the use of the single-dose shot after six
U.S. recipients developed serious blood clots.
   While Los Angeles and Orange counties, and the state, did not
immediately say what that could mean for area vaccination sites, the City of
L.A. is going to pause the use of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, KNX radio
reported Tuesday morning.
   One vaccination site — a mobile site in Wilmington — will switch to
the two-dose Pfizer vaccine, City Councilman Joe Buscaino said.
   Buscaino issued a statement Tuesday saying, “City of Los Angeles
Mobile Vaccine Site which begins vaccinations today (Tuesday) in Wilmington
will switch from its intended Johnson & Johnson vaccine distribution to Pfizer
   L.A. County this week received an allocation of 323,470 doses of
vaccine — including Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, and Moderna. That represents an
overall drop of roughly 80,000 from last week, due to a major reduction in
the supply of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
   County health officials were anticipating supplies of the Johnson &
Johnson vaccine to be increasing again in the coming weeks — but now new
questions could change plans.
   According to a joint statement from the Food and Drug Administration and
the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the federal government is
recommending an immediate pause in the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine
nationwide after the six U.S. recipients — all women between the ages of 18
and 48 — developed serious blood clots within two weeks of getting vaccinated.
   One woman died and a second woman in Nebraska was hospitalized in
critical condition.
   “We are recommending a pause in the use of this vaccine out of an
abundance of caution,” Dr. Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for
Biologics Evaluation and Research, and Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy
director of the CDC said.
  “This is important, in part, to ensure that the health care provider
community is aware of the potential for these adverse events and can plan for
proper recognition and management due to the unique treatment required with
this type of blood clot.
   The statement also emphasized that the adverse reactions to the J&J
vaccine “appears to be extremely rare.”
  “More than 6.8 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen)
vaccine have been administered in the U.S,” the statement said. “CDC and FDA
are reviewing data involving six reported U.S. cases of a rare and severe type
of blood clot in individuals after receiving the J&J vaccine.
   “In these cases, a type of blood clot called cerebral venous sinus
thrombosis (CVST) was seen in combination with low levels of blood platelets
(thrombocytopenia). All six cases occurred among women between the ages of 18
and 48, and symptoms occurred 6 to 13 days after vaccination.
   “Treatment of this specific type of blood clot is different from the
treatment that might typically be administered. Usually, an anticoagulant drug
called heparin is used to treat blood clots. In this setting, administration of
heparin may be dangerous, and alternative treatments need to be given.”
   The CDC will convene a meeting of its Advisory Committee on
Immunization Practices on Wednesday to further review these cases and assess
their potential significance.
   Published reports quoted a Johnson & Johnson statement as saying, “At
present, no clear causal relationship has been established between these
rare events” and the company’s vaccine.
   “We continue to work closely with experts and regulators to assess
the data and support the open communication of this information to healthcare
professionals and the public,” the statement added.