US health panel urges restarting J&J COVID-19 vaccinations

Coronavirus

FILE – In this Wednesday, March 3, 2021 file photo, a pharmacist holds a vial of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine at a hospital in Bay Shore, N.Y. Janssen Pharmaceuticals is a division of Johnson & Johnson. On Wednesday, April 21, 2021, the Food and Drug Administration released a report saying the now-idle Emergent Biosciences factory where a key contractor hired to help make Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine was dirty, didn’t follow proper manufacturing procedures and had poorly trained staff, resulting in contamination of a batch of the vaccine. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

(AP) – A U.S. health panel says it’s time to resume use of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine, despite a very rare risk of blood clots.

Out of nearly 8 million people vaccinated before the U.S. suspended J&J’s shot, health officials uncovered 15 cases of a highly unusual kind of blood clot, three of them fatal.

All were women, most younger than 50.

But advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday the vaccine’s benefits outweigh that serious but small risk — especially against a virus that’s still infecting tens of thousands of Americans every day.

The government will rapidly weigh that recommendation in deciding next steps.

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