Why has the US paused the Johnson & Johnson vaccine?

THE US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the US Food and Drug Administration asked states to temporarily halt Johnson & Johnson's Covid-19 vaccine.

The halt of the jab comes as the United States has administered more than 6.8million doses of the J&J vaccine.

Why has the US paused the Johnson & Johnson vaccine?

On April 13, the FDA asked states to temporarily halt using J&J's jab "out of an abundance of caution" after six women in the US developed a rare blood-clotting disorder.

However, the there has been no link to the women's disorder and the vaccine.

"Right now, these adverse events appear to be extremely rare," the FDA said in a joint statement with the CDC.

"COVID-19 vaccine safety is a top priority for the federal government, and we take all reports of health problems following COVID-19 vaccination very seriously."

All six cases occurred in women ages 18 to 48, with symptoms developing six to 13 days after they received the shot.

Doctors typically treat that type of blood clot with heparin, but health regulators noted that could be dangerous in this case and recommended a different treatment.

"Until that process is complete, we are recommending this pause," the FDA and CDC added.

"This is important to ensure that the health care provider community is aware of the potential for these adverse events and can plan due to the unique treatment required with this type of blood clot."

What should you do if you developed symptoms after receiving the J&J vaccine?

The FDA and CDC recommends people who received the vaccine and "developed severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath" three weeks after vaccination should contact their health care provider.

The CDC will convene a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices on April 14 to further review the cases.

It’s unclear how the pause will impact J&J’s goal to deliver 100million doses to the US by the end of May.

In a statement, J&J said they're "working closely with medical experts and health authorities".

How is J&J's vaccine halt similar to Oxford/AstraZeneca's jab?

The blood-clot disorder link is similar to the problem Europe was having with the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, which is not authorized in the US.

On April 7, Europe’s medicines regulator said it found a possible link between the coronavirus vaccine developed by Oxford/AstraZeneca and rare blood-clotting issues.

The Oxford/AstraZeneca jab has been authorized in more than 70 countries.

Some countries have suspended the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine while others have imposed age limits.

In France, it will not be given to anyone under 55, while in Germany it is offered to the over-60s.

The United Kingdom is allowing the under-30s to choose an alternative.

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