The Meals and Drug Administration on Thursday introduced it was limiting entry to Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine due to the chance of a blood clotting dysfunction that was found weeks after the vaccine was first put into use within the spring of 2021.
Going ahead, the single-dose vaccine will solely be accessible to individuals 18 and older who can’t take one of many different accessible vaccines for medical causes, or who merely won’t comply with be vaccinated with one of many messenger RNA vaccines made by Moderna and by Pfizer and its accomplice BioNTech.
Peter Marks, the FDA’s vaccines lead, advised STAT the company reached its choice after a latest evaluation of the info on the vaccine revealed one other particular person on this nation had died after receiving it — the ninth such demise — within the first quarter of the 12 months. The vaccine is made by J&J’s vaccines division, Janssen.
“If we see deaths and there may be another vaccine that’s not related to deaths however is related to comparable efficacy … we felt it was time at this level to make an announcement on the [product’s] truth sheet that this was not a first-line vaccine,” mentioned Marks, who’s director of the FDA’s Heart for Biologics Analysis and Analysis.
The clotting dysfunction, referred to as thrombosis with thrombocytopenia or TTS, is uncommon, occurring at a charge of about 3.25 circumstances per million doses administered. However the situation might be deadly or life-altering if a person survives. With one demise for each 2 million doses given on this nation, the FDA determined that could be a threat most individuals don’t have to take, Marks mentioned.
The prospect of a single-dose vaccine held monumental promise when J&J introduced its strategy. The vaccine doesn’t require the sophisticated chilly chain wanted for the mRNA vaccines. A single-dose product is enticing to individuals who don’t prefer to be vaccinated, and cheaper to make use of for low- and middle-income international locations.
However the degree of safety the vaccine provided was not as excessive as that induced by the messenger RNA and within the U.S., individuals who acquired the J&J vaccine have since been urged to get mRNA boosters. When the clotting threat was recognized in mid-April of 2021, the FDA paused use of the vaccine. Although the pause was lifted 10 days later, confidence within the vaccine had been shaken and demand for it plummeted.
In December, the impartial panel that advises the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention on vaccines issued a preferential advice for the mRNA vaccines over the J&J product.
Of the 577 million doses of Covid vaccine administered in the USA, solely 18.7 million have been the J&J vaccine.
The corporate mentioned it has up to date its product sheet to mirror the FDA’s restrictions. In an announcement, it mentioned information proceed to indicate that the advantages of the vaccine outweigh its dangers, when in comparison with going unvaccinated.
“Johnson & Johnson continues to collaborate with well being authorities and regulators world wide to make sure healthcare professionals and people are warned and absolutely knowledgeable about experiences of TTS, enabling right analysis, applicable remedy, and expedited reporting,” it mentioned.
Marks harassed that individuals who acquired the J&J vaccine up to now don’t want to fret. TTS, when it happens, develops per week or two after vaccination. Individuals who have been vaccinated months in the past should not at risk of creating the situation, he mentioned.
He acknowledged the newest announcement received’t change a lot on the bottom in the USA, the place few vaccination websites inventory the J&J vaccine at this level. However it might have implications overseas, the place international locations nonetheless struggling to vaccinate their populaces might be influenced by the U.S. choice.
“In the USA, that is in all probability not going to have that a lot of an impact,” Marks mentioned. “We’re making an attempt to be cautious and we’ve knowledgeable our international companions at [the World Health Organization] as an illustration, about this and tried to work with them as a result of we don’t need our international companions to be panicked.”
“We’re not saying that it’s a nasty vaccine. We’re simply saying that for our inhabitants, the place there’s another, we really feel that the choice must be used.”