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'It may not be for everyone,' but health experts predict J&J vaccine will be available again soon

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Posted at 6:17 PM, Apr 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-20 18:33:32-04

Health experts in Cincinnati and northern Kentucky said Tuesday they expect the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to be back in circulation soon, despite the temporary pause recommended by the FDA in mid-April.

“It may not be for everyone,” said St. Elizabeth pharmacy director Suzi Francis.

“I think if you're a man, you shouldn't have any concerns because all of the people who experienced this very rare phenomenon are women,” said Dr. O’Dell Owens, a former Cincinnati Health commissioner.

The FDA recommended health care providers stop providing Johnson & Johnson doses on April 13 after six patients — all women between 18 and 48 — developed a rare, severe type of blood clot in their brains after receiving the single-shot vaccine. About 6.8 million doses had already been administered.

O’Dell, Francis and University of Cincinnati infectious disease expert Dr. Carl Fichtenbaum all said they expect the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to make some form of a return after the FDA finishes its evaluation of the six cases.

In the meantime, patients should continue to get vaccinated when they can, with the vaccine options — Moderna and Pfizer — available to them.

“The thing we do have to know is unfortunately COVID cases are starting to climb again, and it is very important to get vaccinated as soon as possible,” Francis said.

“There is a 16-fold higher chance of developing a blood clot with COVID infection than there is with getting a vaccine,” Fichtenbaum added. “So I don’t think it’s worth it if you’re playing the odds.”

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Senior Reporter Larry Seward is focusing his reporting on the COVID-19 vaccine to bring you answers and information. Contact Larry at 513-667-4804 or larry.seward@wcpo.com.