Chances of developing blood clots from vaccine extremely rare, Garza says


ST. LOUIS – The CDC’s independent vaccine advisory committee met Wednesday to start reviewing clinical data on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Health officials are weighing the next steps as they investigate a handful of unusual blood clots in people who received the single-dose J&J vaccine.

Both the CDC and FDA have recommended a pause in the use of the vaccine. Members of the advisory committee said they want more data before making a long-term recommendation.

Dr. Alex Garza, head of the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force, said the pause is normal to protect the public while the CDC and FDA investigate the matter.

Garza said it is extremely rare to develop blood clots from a vaccine. The chances are less than one in a million. It’s also not clear if the six cases across the country are actually linked to the J&J vaccine. 

About 3-4% of the vaccine supply in the St. Louis area is the J&J single-dose vaccine, according to Garza.

“To date, approximately 30,000 doses of the J&J vaccine have been used in Region C, and as of now there have been no reported cases of blood clots associated with the vaccine throughout the state of Missouri,” Garza said.

The doctor said there is plenty of Moderna and Pfizer vaccine available in the St. Louis area and the pause in the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine should not have a significant impact in the region.

BJC HealthCare has moved to a direct scheduling process for COVID-19 vaccines.

Those eligible in both Missouri and Illinois and over the age of 16 can visit to pick their vaccine location, date, and time. The type of vaccine brand is also indicated when making the appointment.

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