The FDA and the CDC recommended a pause in distribution of the Johnson&Johnson vaccine today after discovering six cases of serious adverse events tied to blood clotting. One woman died; another is in critical condition; nearly 7 million have gotten the J&J vaccine with no blood clotting. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the President and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, spoke about the safety of the vaccines this afternoon at a White House press conference. "What does a pause mean?" he asked. "It really allows both the FDA and the CDC to further investigate these cases, to try and understand some of the mechanisms of what it is." Read on to see if it's still safe to get a vaccine, in his opinion—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Signs Your Illness is Actually Coronavirus in Disguise.
Dr. Fauci Says the Blood Clots are Rare But Watch for These Symptoms
Dr. Fauci said the threat of a cerebral venous sinus thrombosis—a rare blood clotting condition that can be deadly—from the J&J vaccine is extremely rare, "less than one in a million." However if it happens to you: You might have a headache. "The manifestations of this are that headache is the very common component of it because the sinus thrombosis that they have is the draining of the blood in the brain. And it will cause enough symptomatology to make you notice it," said Dr. Fauci. You might also have shortness of breath or chest discomfort—or a seizure. "Do you have anything that resembles neurological syndrome?" If so, call your doctor immediately. And keep reading for his 6 other takeaways that could save your life.
Dr. Fauci Says Women Should Tell Their Doctors About Their Vaccine History
"Also," said Fauci, "when individuals particularly younger women who might come into a physician with a particular thrombotic phenomenon, which is things that happen for other reasons, all the time that we want to alert physicians to take a history of a recent vaccination, that would be important. So the pause not only allows us to take a look at the cases and learn more, but it is also a signal out there to help the physicians."
Dr. Fauci Says it Would Be a Mistake to Treat These Blood Clots as You Would Others
"For example," said Dr. Fauci, "if someone comes in with this really rather rare syndrome of thrombotic thrombocytopenia, where you get thrombosis, and when you have thrombosis, the most common way to treat that is with heparin, that would be a mistake in this situation because it could be dangerous and make the situation much worse. So there's a clinically relevant reason why you want to make this known to people."
Dr. Fauci Said if You Have Had a J&J Shot a Month Ago, Don't Worry
"One of the questions that comes up already rather frequently," said Dr. Fauci: "Does this have anything to do with the efficacy of the vaccine? So we know that there have been 6.85 million doses of J&J distributed in the United States thus far. So someone who may be added a month or two ago would say, what does this mean for me? It really doesn't mean anything. You're okay. Because if you look at the frame, the timeframe, when this occurs, it's pretty tight from a few days, six to 13 days from the time of the vaccination." Overall, he told Americans not to have an "anxiety" reaction—the blood clots are extemely rare.
Dr. Fauci Said the Pfizer and Moderna Vaccines Have No "Red Flags"
"The next question is one that we're all obviously aware of. What impact is this going to have about people's attitudes about vaccines in general? So you might know that there have been now a 120 million people that have received at least one dose of a vaccine. Most of that subtract the 6.85 million is in the messenger RNA from Pfizer and from Moderna, there have been no red flag signals from those. So you're talking about tens and tens and tens of millions of people who've received vaccine with no adverse effect."
Dr. Fauci Said Doctors Were Studying the Issue
Tomorrow, the FDA and CDC will meet to gather "some more details about the history of the individuals who were involved that might shed some light on looking forward, what will happen and what we will do," said Dr. Fauci. The six were all women between the ages of 18 to 48; Fauci felt it would be "days to weeks," not "weeks to months before they had it figured out. "That's the first thing, the other thing is to make physicians out there aware of this. And there are some clinical implications of that that I believe are important."
Dr. Fauci Again Said This J&J Blood Clotting is a "Really Rare Event"
"This is a really rare event," said Dr. Fauci of the J&J blood clotting. "If you look at what we know so far, they have been six out of the 6.85 million doses, which is less than one in a million. So remember, this is something that we always out of, a really out of an abundance of caution…to give us a time to take a good look at it and see if we can get further information." Until it's sorted out, follow Fauci's fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—wear a face mask that fits snugly and is double layered, don't travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, get vaccinated when it becomes available to you, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.