The One Thing People Who Get Blood Clots After the Vaccine Have in Common
Here's what you should know about the reported blood clotting cases.
Reactions are to be expected after any COVID vaccine, as made clear by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), given that your body is working hard to build immunity. However, increasing reports of some very rare but dangerous reactions, like blood clotting, have made people increasingly uneasy in recent weeks. Agencies have started to look into reports of blood clotting following two different COVID vaccines: Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca. When looking at the data, there is one clear commonality between the small number of people who have gotten blood clots after these vaccines. Read on to find out what these recipients have in common, and for more on vaccine side effects, Moderna Caused This Reaction in 82 Percent of People, New Study Says.
Most reported cases of blood clots have been in women under the age of 60 within three weeks of vaccination.
Six people have experienced blood clotting after receiving Johnson & Johnson's one-dose vaccine in the U.S., The New York Times reported. All six were women between the ages of 18 and 48, who developed blood clotting within one to three weeks after vaccination. Blood clotting has also been reported as a rare reaction following the AstraZeneca COVID vaccine, which is not yet available in the U.S. According to the European Medicines Agency (EMA), most of these cases have occurred in women under the age of 60 within two weeks of vaccination. Christian Bogdan, a member of Germany's vaccine committee, told Reuters that the risk of blood clotting was highest in women between the ages of 20 and 59, observed between four to 16 days after receiving the AztraZeneca vaccine. And for more concerning reactions, If 1 of These 3 Body Parts Starts Swelling Up After Your Vaccine, Call a Doctor.
Blood clotting is still a very rare reaction following the vaccine.
It's important to note that these are extremely rare reactions. As Reuters points out, the risk of women blood clotting from taking oral contraception is four women out of 10,000—a far higher number than what is being seen following these COVID vaccines so far. According to the CDC, nearly seven million people have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the U.S., and only six people have reportedly experienced blood clotting. In a statement April 13, Johnson & Johnson said they are aware of an "extremely rare disorder involving people with blood clots in combination with low platelets in a small number of individuals" who have received their COVID vaccine.
On the same note, just 169 blood clotting cases following the AstraZeneca vaccine were reported to the EMA out of 34 million doses administered. "The reported combination of blood clots and low blood platelets is very rare, and the overall benefits of the vaccine in preventing COVID-19 outweigh the risks of side effects," the EMA noted in its report. And for more up-to-date information, sign up for our daily newsletter.
The CDC and FDA have recommended a pause in the use of Johnson & Johnson.
The CDC and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have joined together to release a statement recommending an immediate pause on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine following these blood clotting reports. "We are recommending a pause in the use of this vaccine out of an abundance of caution. This is important, in part, to ensure that the health care provider community is aware of the potential for these adverse events and can plan for proper recognition and management due to the unique treatment required with this type of blood clot," the agencies said in a statement released April 13.
The CDC said it will meet on April 14 to further review these blood clotting cases and "assess their potential significance," while the FDA says they will also review and investigate these cases. The agencies are recommending providers halt using this vaccine until the investigation process is complete. However, they also note in their statement that "right now, these adverse events appear to be extremely rare." And for more guidance from the CDC, The CDC Says Don't Take This After Your Vaccine Without a Doctor's OK.
If you notice specific symptoms after vaccination, you should seek medical care.
States can still choose to give out the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, though some have already announced they will be complying with the pause. If you do receive or have received this vaccine, you should be aware of certain symptoms that may indicate you are experiencing the rare clotting reaction. According to the CDC and FDA, if you have received the Johnson & Johnson and "develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination," you should contact your health care provider immediately. And for more on vaccine reactions, Doing This After Your Vaccine Can Make Side Effects Worse, Doctors Say.