“At the moment we believe these events are extremely rare, but we are also not sure we have heard of all possible cases as this syndrome may not be easily identified as being associated with the vaccine,” said Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, the CDC director said at a White House press conference about the pandemic on Wednesday.
During the panel discussion, experts noted that the “risk window” for the disease was still open among vaccine recipients and that new cases could arise as nearly 3.8 million people had received the shot in the past two weeks. In the six women, the strong coagulation developed within about two weeks after the shot.
Other experts advocated the dissemination of health information about how to diagnose and treat the condition so that it could spread awareness among doctors, emergency rooms, and those who had received the vaccine. An important point to note is that the blood-thinning heparin, a common treatment for blood clots, can be harmful to these patients and should not be used.
Officials also noted that because the blood clots were so severe, people with the disease needed treatment as soon as possible. Some patients needed invasive procedures to remove large blood clots from the blood vessels in their brain.
Several panel members reiterated that two other vaccines – from Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech – are available, neither of which are associated with the clotting problem. Continuing the hiatus would not stop most people in the US from getting vaccinated.
Speaking at the press conference, Jeffrey D. Zients, the White House pandemic coordinator, said the hiatus would not disrupt the momentum of the country’s vaccination campaign in general.
“In the short term, we expect some impact on the daily average as Johnson & Johnson locations and dates move to Moderna and Pfizer vaccines,” he said. “We have more than enough Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to continue or even accelerate the current rate of vaccination.”