CDC recommends mRNA vaccines over J&J

pharmafile | December 17, 2021 | News story | Medical Communications  

The CDC has recommended Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines over Johnson & Johnson jabs. The recommendation from CDC Director Dr Rochelle Walensky, arrived hours after members of the agency’s Advisory Committee on Immunisation Practices voted in favour of the guidance.

The panel convened following an update from the FDA on the risk of rare, but potentially life-threatening, blood clots linked to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Cases of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS), which involves blood clots accompanied by a low level of platelets, have previously been reported in those who have received the COVID-19 vaccine by Johnson & Johnson. The highest reporting rates are in women under 50. At least 54 in the US, have been hospitalized by the blood clots, and nine have died.

Fewer individuals in the US have received the Johnson & Johnson shot than the other two vaccines. Out of more than 200 million fully vaccinated people in the US, about 16 million received J&J’s vaccine, according to CDC data. 

“Today’s updated recommendation emphasizes CDC’s commitment to provide real-time scientific information to the American public,” Walensky said in a statement. “I continue to encourage all Americans to get vaccinated and boosted.” 

The advisory panel voted unanimously to declare the mRNA vaccines, from Pfizer and Moderna, the ‘preferred’ options for adults. The panel ultimately concluded that mRNA vaccines provided greater protection, and fewer risks, than Johnson & Johnson’s. The recommendation does not prohibit use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

In a presentation to the committee, a leading Johnson & Johnson vaccine scientist stated that the vaccine generates a strong and long-lasting immune response with just a single dose: “In the setting where many people do not return for a second dose or a booster, the durability of the single shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine as a primary regimen could make a crucial difference in saving lives in the US and around the globe,” Dr Penny Heaton said.

Ana Ovey

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