The health officials who spoke on today’s call started by reiterating details about the decision to halt the J&J shared with the press earlier. Officials said they would update doctors with new vaccine “fact sheets” designated certain medications that could be associated with higher risks of blood clots.
After they said they were only seeing symptoms in patients who received the JNJ vaccine, the first question from the press (asked by an FT reporter) was: what about AstraZeneca? In Europe, governments have been imposing age limits on who can receive the AstraZeneca jab for similar reasons.
Officials responded by brushing the AZ question aside, before saying they hoped the halt would last for only a few days. Pressed about what’s causing the clots, doctors said that an extremely rare immune response triggers the blood clots by sending signals in patients’ blood to clot. While they said they hadn’t seen complications with other vaccines, Dr. Marks said the US believes the problem in the JNJ and AZ vaccines is “related” to the adenovirus platform, though he didn’t offer much in the way of details.
At one point, Dr. Marks said “the real thing that is so notable here is not just the cerebral blood clods…it’s their occurrence together that makes a pattern, and that pattern is very very similar to what was seen with another vaccine.”
A reporter for CNN mentioned that they were being told that this was something being “looked into” earlier, and Schuchat explained that the CDC had first looked into how best to advise the health-care community to treat and respond.
The FDA left open the possibility that new cases of blood clots could be brought to its attention. The FDA will actively search for vaccines. New guidance to be issued will help educate doctors and other health-care professionals about risk factors that could put patients at risk of the autoimmune reaction. Read more…