The key moment will be this Friday when the advisory committee of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention meets. If you give the go-ahead, you could start to inoculate again.
US health authorities are inclined to recommend resuming the use of Johnson & Johnson's coronavirus vaccine, possibly this weekend, in an announcement that would include a new warning about a rare blood clot complication, but that He would have no age restrictions, The Washington Post reported.
In this way, the position would be similar to that taken by the European Medicines Agency, which said this week that Johnson & Johnson's vaccine should carry a warning but did not impose restrictions on its use. The agency assured that its benefits continue to outweigh the risks.
The current position of the US authorities was released by two government officials who spoke to The Washington Post on condition of anonymity. They said the position could be affected if there were a sudden spate of reports of blood clots, which seems unlikely, or if other surprises related to the vaccine emerged.
The final decision on Johnson & Johnson's vaccine is believed to be publicly discussed at a meeting this Friday, in which an influential advisory group from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will participate.
This group of independent experts, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, last met on April 14. At that time, he reviewed the decision made the day before by the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to recommend the temporary suspension of the vaccine responding to reports of 6 cases of severe brain fractures in a maximum of 7.5 million people vaccinated. The panel reported at that meeting that it needed more data before recommending resumption or other measures, such as restrictions based on age or gender.
Officials at the CDC and FDA declined to comment on whether federal authorities will be inclined to recommend lifting the pause in response to inquiries from The Washington Post. Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock said Thursday that she does not want to "overshadow" the deliberations of the CDC advisory committee. While Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC, said Wednesday that she does not want to anticipate the panel's decision.
Still, the two shared encouraging data on the incidence of clots. Walensky said the government has only received a "handful" of additional cases, adding that there are "more being adjudicated" and that a final figure would be released on Friday. But he assured that there are not a large number of people who claim to have suffered from clots.
Along the same lines, Woodcock said officials had not seen a "huge avalanche" of clot cases. "It is a great relief," he said.
The rarity of the cases convinced many US officials that the complication could be addressed by adding a warning that describes the groups most at risk for adverse effects and ensuring that doctors know how to detect and treat the problem. In particular, healthcare professionals are advised to avoid the use of heparin, a common treatment for blood clots, because it can make the vaccine-related condition worse.
Suppose the CDC advisory committee votes Friday to end Johnson & Johnson's vaccine pause. In that case, the CDC and FDA could recommend resuming injections within hours or days. That result would be good news for many state officials eager to start using the single-dose inoculant again. But suppose the advisory panel has a different opinion and recommends that the vaccine not be used for certain age groups or for anyone. In that case, it is not yet clear what will happen next.