There are six confirmed cases being studied by the Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Johnson & Johnson. Whether the vaccine has a direct causative effect on the clots is unknown at this time.
Factually, more than 7 million people have received the Johnson & Johnson one-dose vaccine, but only six cases have been singled out for having severe blood clots, which is about one in a million.
All of the cases were observed in women, between 18 and 48 years old.
As the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices debated whether to recommend lifting the pause or giving the shot to only certain groups,a seventh possible case, in a 28-year-old woman, was included Wednesday. The committee said it needed more information on all of the cases and will continue to monitor for more before making a recommendation.
“Everybody is at risk,” Dr. Sarah Long, a pediatrics professor at Drexel University, said at the meeting. “And although it’s a very small risk — it is so serious.”
Of the six known cases so far, all are white females, with a median age of 33. Within a week or two of taking their shot, they began getting headaches, some of them also had muscle aches, chills, fever, back pain and labored breathing. Many of these are typical side effects of the vaccine, but the increasing severity of symptoms is not. The clotting in the brain found in these women, which are clots that form in the brain’s sinus veins and clog its drainage system, is also different.
Three women remain hospitalized, with two in intensive care. A 45-year-old woman living in Virginia has died. She received the J&J vaccine in early March, and 11 days after taking the shot, was hospitalized with serious adverse symptoms. She died a week later, on March 18.