File picture: Justin Tallis/AFP
File picture: Justin Tallis/AFP

J&J blood clot side-effect appeared within two weeks of the shot

By Keagan Le Grange Time of article published Apr 14, 2021

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The rare Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine blood clot side-effect had initially been reported in the US, setting off a chain of events with the pharmaceutical giants delaying rollout in Europe and South Africa, halting the Sisonke vaccine rollout programme.

“The safety and well-being of the people who use our products is our number one priority. We are aware of an extremely rare disorder involving people with blood clots in combination with low platelets in a small number of individuals who have received our Covid-19 vaccine,” said J&J in a statement on Tuesday,

“We have been reviewing these cases with European health authorities. We have made the decision to proactively delay the rollout of our vaccine in Europe.”

South Africa soon followed with Health Minister Zweli Mkhize announcing Tuesday evening that South Africa has taken the decision to voluntarily suspend the J&J Covid-19 vaccine rollout following reports from the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Although only six individuals out of over 6.8 million people administered the J&J Covid-19 vaccine in the US, the rare side effect is still deemed dangerous and requires further examination.

A media statement published on the CDC website reported six women between the age of 18 to 48 years old had developed severe blood clots between six to 13 days after their vaccinations, with one dying and another in critical condition.

“We are recommending a pause in the use of this vaccine out of an abundance of caution,” Dr Peter Marks, the director of the FDA’s Centre for Biologics Evaluation and Research, and Dr Anne Schuchat, the principal deputy director of the CDC, said in a joint statement on the J&J vaccine. “Right now, these adverse events appear to be extremely rare.”

"For people who got the vaccine more than a month ago, the risk to them is very low at this time. For people who recently got the vaccine within the last couple weeks, they should be aware to look for any symptoms," Dr Schuchat said.

Symptoms to look out for after the J&J vaccine shot

Dr Schuchat advises those who had recently received their shot of J&J vaccine should contact their health care provider and seek medical treatment if they experienced the following symptoms:

  • Severe headache;
  • Abdominal pain;
  • Leg pain;
  • Shortness of breath

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