The J&J vaccine (also called the Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccine) uses an inactivated cold virus to carry genetic material, which prompts your cells to create a harmless piece of the “spike protein” found on the surface of COVID-19. This helps the body build an immune response against the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. These types of vaccines have been around for years and are generally safe for large populations of people.
The Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine is the third COVID-19 vaccine that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized for emergency use.
The J&J COVID-19 vaccine only requires one dose instead of two. This vaccine uses viral vector technology instead of mRNA.
Clinical trials found that this vaccine was effective at preventing both mild to moderate COVID-19 as well as severe COVID-19. They also indicated that the vaccine is effective for some COVID-19 variants.
The J&J COVID-19 vaccine shares common side effects with the other COVID-19 vaccines, such as injection site reactions, headaches, and fatigue. Although a very small number of serious blood clots have been reported following vaccination, the risk of these happening is very low.
The reported blood clots occurred in the large blood vessels of the brain or abdomen and were associated with low platelet counts. The medical term for this condition is thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS).
According to the CDC, it occurs at a rate of 7 per 1 million female individuals between the ages of 18 and 49 years. Female individuals over age 50 years and male individuals are at an even lower risk. If you’re a person assigned female at birth and you’re under 50 years old, it’s important to be aware of the risk of these blood clots as well as their potential symptoms.
Has The Johnson And Johnson Vaccine Been Discontinued?
The Johnson and Johnson vaccine was discontinued for a while after The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the FDA recommended a pause in the production and administration of the J&J COVID-19 vaccine on April 13, 2021. At the time of the pause, about 6.8 million doses of the vaccine had been given.
The purpose of the pause was to investigate the rare blood clots that had been reported and the overall safety of the J & J vaccine. It also served to inform healthcare professionals on how to identify and treat these clots, should they occur.
Six instances of TTS, including one death, had been reported at the time of the pause. All of these cases involved women between ages 18 and 48 years old. Symptoms of TTS began 1 to 2 weeks after receiving the J&J COVID-19 vaccine. At the time of writing, nine further instances of TTS have been reported, according to the FDA. Two of these additional cases were associated with deaths.
But on April 23, 2021, the pause on the J&J COVID-19 vaccine was lifted. After thoroughly reviewing the data on the reported cases of clots developing, the CDC and the FDA concluded that the known benefits of the J&J COVID-19 vaccine outweighed its potential risks.