Washington, April 24
US health officials lifted an 11-day pause on Covid-19 vaccinations using Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose shot, after scientific advisers decided its benefits outweigh a rare risk of blood clot.
The government uncovered 15 vaccine recipients, who developed a highly unusual kind of blood clot, out of nearly 8 million people given the J&J shot. All were women, most under age 50. Three died, and seven remain hospitalised.
But ultimately Friday, the Food and Drug Administration and Centres for Disease Control and Prevention decided that J&J’s one-and-done vaccine is critical to fight the pandemic — and that the small clot risk could be handled with warnings to help younger women decide if they should use that shot or an alternative. “Above all else, health and safety are at the forefront of our decisions,” CDC Director Dr Rochelle Walensky said in a statement. “Our vaccine safety systems are working. We identified exceptionally rare events – out of millions of doses” of the J&J shot and will continue to monitor them.
The US decision — similar to how European regulators are rolling out J&J shot — comes after CDC advisers earlier Friday voted 10-4 to resume vaccinations but panelists made clear that they must come with warnings about the risk. The group debated but ultimately steered clear of outright age restrictions. “This is an age group that is most at risk (of the clotting) that is getting vaccine predominately to save other peoples’ lives and morbidity, not their own. And I think we have a responsibility to be certain that they know this,” said Dr Sarah Long of Drexel University College of Medicine, who voted against the proposal because she felt it did not go far enough in warning women. — AP
In Singapore Indian tests +ve post jab
A 21-year-old Indian national, who had received both doses of the Covid-19 vaccine, is among the 36 new coronavirus cases reported in Singapore in the last 24 hours, according to a media report on Saturday. The man did not have any symptoms and was detected when he was tested on April 19 as part of the Health Ministry’s routine testing of foreign workers, the TODAY newspaper reported. The man’s pooled test result came back positive for Covid-19 and he was immediately isolated. PTI
Warning, risk and Clearance
- The US decision — similar to how European regulators are rolling out J&J shot — comes after CDC advisers earlier Friday voted 10-4 to resume vaccinations but panelists made clear that they must come with warnings about the risk.
- The group debated but ultimately steered clear of outright age restrictions.
- The committee members all agreed the J&J vaccine “should be put back into circulation,” panel chairman Dr Jose Romero, Arkansas’ health secretary, said in an interview after the vote.
New Covid strain detected in Lanka
- A new Covid strain that is airborne and more potent than all those found previously in Sri Lanka has been discovered in the island nation, according to a top immunologist here.
- The variant, which is highly transmissible, can remain airborne for nearly an hour and is spreading fast, Neelika Malavige, the head of the Department of Immunology and Molecular Sciences of the Sri Jayawardenapura University said. PTI