Putting the J&J Vaccine 'Pause' Into Perspective

John Whyte, MD, MPH


April 14, 2021

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JOHN WHYTE: Hi, everyone. I'm Dr. John Whyte, Chief Medical Officer at WebMD. Some of you may have heard about these rare cases of blood clots in people who received the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. Here's what we know.

Six women between the ages of 18 to 48 experienced a blood clot within two weeks of receiving this vaccine -- six cases in nearly 7 million shots. This is extremely rare, roughly one in a million. But a few cases were serious.

So the CDC and FDA paused the use of this vaccine because what they want to find out is, were the clots related to the vaccine? Or the clots might have been a result of something in these persons' underlying health conditions. So we need to find that out. And we have an alternative with the Pfizer and the Moderna vaccines.

So what do you need to know? If you received the vaccine more than two to three weeks ago, don't panic. I don't want you to overreact. It is very unlikely that you would experience any type of clot this far out.

If you received it within two to three weeks, here's what to look out for -- headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, leg swelling, any type of bruises or rashes, cold extremities, vision changes, some confusion. If you experience that, you need to seek medical care right away.

Remember, there have been more clots as a result of getting COVID-19 than there have been with the vaccine. If you already have an appointment, I encourage you to go through with it. There's still a lot of virus around, and getting vaccinated protects you, your family, and your community.

This interview originally appeared on WebMD on Arpil 14, 2021

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