Johnson and Johnson vaccine is paused. Don’t panic, says doctor

Johnson & Johnson's coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines are seen at Northwell Health's South Shore University Hospital in Bay Shore, New York, U.S., March 3, 2021. Photo by REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton/File Photo/File Photo

The federal government decided this morning to pause Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine. Officials are looking into six cases where women who got the shot developed a serious and rare blood clot. Governor Gavin Newsom also announced today that California would temporarily stop using the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

“It’s a little overkill to pause, as opposed to what the EU did with a similar side effect with AstraZeneca, which is just for now restrict it to using among older people. Just because this is such a rare side effect, and we really need to look into these six women,” says Monica Gandhi, an infectious disease doctor and professor of medicine at UCSF.

She points out that this side effect happens for one in 1.1 million people. “So we want to be cautious, but not get panicked.”