CDC recommends Moderna and Pfizer in adults over Johnson & Johnson

Blood clot risk in J&J higher for women, draws CDC concerns

The CDC has recommended the COVID vaccines made by Moderna Inc. and Pfizer Inc. for use in adults over Johnson & Johnson’s shot because of a link to rare, but serious blood clots.

The CDC’s 15-member Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted unanimously in favor of the recommendation. In addition, Johnson & Johnson’s fact sheet will be updated to warn about the rare clotting syndrome.

“Today’s updated recommendation emphasizes CDC’s commitment to provide real-time scientific information to the American public,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said in a statement. “I continue to encourage all Americans to get vaccinated and boosted.”

The risk of the vaccine-linked clotting condition—thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome—may be higher than previously thought, especially for women. In mid-June, the rate among women with the disorder was 4.86 per million J&J doses, while as of early December, it was 5.84 per million.

Women in the 30 to 49 age range were at the highest risk of clotting and resulting death, according to the CDC. Men were at lower risk of the complication, regardless of age.

Despite the danger, the risk of blood clotting is exponentially greater from COVID than a single dose of the J&J vaccine, according to the company, with a rate of more than 400 cases per million.

The CDC said that rescinding J&J’s vaccine recommendation or restricting it to specific groups could negatively effect the homeless, homebound, and incarcerated. Frequent travelers, lower-income communities, temporary agricultural workers, and socially isolated individuals might also suffer from a lack of access to the vaccine.

In April, regulators told providers to stop administering the shot to assess clotting issues occurring among some recipients, primarily young women. Regulators lifted the pause after 10 days, because the chances of developing clotting was very low and the benefits of the vaccine outweighed the risks.