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CDC panel recommends resuming use of J&J vaccine, says benefits outweigh risks

WASHINGTON, DC -- A U.S. health panel says it’s time to resume use of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine, despite a very rare risk of blood clots.

Out of nearly 8 million people vaccinated before the U.S. suspended J&J’s shot, health officials uncovered 15 cases of a highly unusual kind of blood clot, three of them fatal. All were women, most younger than 50.

But advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday the vaccine’s benefits outweigh that serious but small risk -- especially against a virus that’s still infecting tens of thousands of Americans every day.

The next step is for the director of the CDC to sign off on the recommendation. If she does as expected, J&J shots could resume within hours or days.

Following the vote, several members of the panel said it will be up to the CDC and other public health officials to educate the public.

“We really are depending on the public health agencies and the partner organizations to make sure that people actually are informed and are empowered, and that they actually get a balanced perspective,” said Dr. Beth Bell, a member of the panel who voted in favor of the move.

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said earlier Friday during a White House Covid-19 briefing that after the "risk benefit analysis" is presented, "I think the FDA and I both feel strongly and the CDC ... feel strongly that we need to act swiftly after that analysis."

"I do think that there's plenty of people who are interested in the day-to-day vaccine if just for convenience, as well as for a single dose option," she said.

Article Topic Follows: Coronavirus

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