A subcommittee of vaccine advisers to US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will recommend Friday that the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine continue to be used in the United States, an expert familiar with the situation said Friday.
The source required anonymity because the subcommittee’s deliberations have not yet been made public.
Thursday afternoon, the Covid-19 Vaccine Working Group, a subcommittee of CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, met to discuss the fate of the J&J vaccine. The vaccine’s rollout has been on pause since April 13, after a small number of people experienced blood clots after taking the shot.
The full committee is scheduled to meet from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Friday to consider what recommendation to make to the CDC. Typically, the agency accepts the recommendations of this committee, which is made up of outside experts.
“They are not going to disallow the use of the vaccine – that is off the table,” the expert said. “And they are determined that the committee will make a recommendation of some kind will today. They are not going to kick this can further down the road.”
Late in the afternoon on Thursday, the subcommittee was still debating whether to recommend a warning on the vaccine or, in addition, it could also suggest that people under a certain age not take the shot.
The blood clot cases that led to the pause were all in people under the age of 48. Six women experienced blood clots within 6 to 13 days after taking the shot, according to the CDC and the US Food and Drug Administration. One man experienced clots 21 days after taking the vaccine during the clinical trial last fall, according to J&J.
The expert said there have been more cases since then, but declined to give a number.
Oregon health officials said Thursday they and the CDC are looking into the death of a woman in her 50s who had the rare type of blood clot after receiving the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine.
The Texas Department of Health also reported Thursday that a woman had been hospitalized with blood clots after the vaccine.
The expert said there was no pressure on the advisory subcommittee to make a recommendation one way or the other about the J&J vaccine.
“There was no hint that the CDC was trying to guide the committee. The committee was truly independent,” the expert said. “I was impressed this was done straight on and totally professionally. I have been in meetings where it is clear what the CDC leadership wants, and there was no hint of that yesterday.”