INDINAPOLIS (WISH) — Six women of the more than 6.8 million Americans who received the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine got severe blood clots known as thrombosis; one of those six has died. The vaccine now under investigation by the Food and Drug Administration.
Before you worry, doctor’s want to put this risk into perspective, remembering that almost every medication or vaccine comes with a list of potential side effects.
“I think that this is an example of the FDA doing what it is supposed to do. They located a question, they decided they wanted to check the question and answer it,” Dr. Paul Calkins, associate chief medical executive at IU Health, said.
Dr. Calkins says the situation surrounding the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is not out of the ordinary.
“This is not abnormal that you would find something,” he said. “They call this sort of the post-release phase of a medication and it happens a lot.”
The CDC says approximately 900,000 Americans get a blood clot every year and as many as 100,000 die from it annually.
“The 319 people under the age of 50 have died of COVID in Indiana during the pandemic, that is 50 times as many people as have had this complication,” Calkins said.
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Multiple people commented on the WISH-TV Facebook page comparing the risk of the blood clot with the J & J vaccine to birth control. Studies show that women who take a hormonal birth control are at a higher risk than the average American for a blood clot, some studies say as many as one in one thousand. It is an issue that women have been facing for decades.
“The ones that were most known for causing blood clots early wound up getting replaced with ones that cause fewer blood clots, never got it down to zero, but they brought the number way, way down,” Calkins said.
He says when it comes to focusing on the numbers, it is important to look at the 6.8 million people who are benefiting from this vaccine rather than focusing on the six.
“We actually are seeing that in our patient population now the number of 80-year-olds and 70-year-olds who are winding up admitted to our hospital has gone down dramatically. There is no other reason than vaccination,” Calkins said.
Dr. Calkins says that if you are concerned about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine moving forward, the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are made from very different technology and have had no reports of that specific side effect.