Moderna, Pfizer Covid Vaccines Should Be Given Over Johnson & Johnson’s, CDC Says

Moderna, Pfizer Covid Vaccines Should Be Given Over Johnson & Johnson’s, CDC Says

Photo: CDC Twitter

The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention recommended Thursday evening that Moderna and Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccines should be administered rather than Johnson & Johnson’s one-dose shot, citing the higher risk of blood clots associated with it. 

KEY FACTS

- The CDC issued its decision hours after the agency’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted unanimously to recommend the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines over the J&J vaccine.

- The advisory committee voted on the new recommendations after hearing updates that the incidence of blood clots from the J&J shot was higher than previously known—though still rare—according to the Wall Street Journal.

- At least 54 cases of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) have occurred in people who received the J&J vaccine, nine of which were fatal. 

- The move discourages patients from taking the J&J shot, but does not stop them from doing so or remove the vaccine from circulation, and the CDC said in a statement that J&J doses will remain available and “receiving any vaccine is better than being unvaccinated.”

CRUCIAL QUOTE

“The additional TTS cases and reported deaths are concerning,” Dr. Helen Keipp Talbot, a member of the committee, said Thursday. 

BIG NUMBER

About 16 million. That’s how many people in the U.S. have received the J&J shot, compared to 73 million who have received Moderna’s and the 114 million who received Pfizer’s, according to the CDC.

KEY BACKGROUND

In April, the CDC suspended use of the J&J vaccine for 10 days to investigate six cases of TTS. The J&J shot has also been linked to Guillain–Barre syndrome, a rare neurological disorder. In October, a CDC advisory board recommended that those who got the J&J shot should receive a booster dose, which it also advised for those who received two doses of Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccine. Only 1.5% of people have opted to get the J&J vaccine as their booster shot, according to the New York Times—patients are able to get a shot from a brand different from their original doses.