Decision On Resuming Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Expected This Week

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Johnson & Johnson's (JNJ) Covid-19 vaccine is expected to be back on track as early as this weekend as a decision is expected after the advisory panel meeting of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) slated on April 23, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had last week temporarily halted the usage of Johnson & Johnson's Covid-19 vaccine after six recipients developed a rare blood clotting disorder.

All six recipients who developed the rare blood clotting disorder were women aged between 18 and 48. All of them developed the symptoms within one to three weeks of vaccination. One woman died and a second woman in Nebraska is in critical condition.

Doctors usually treat this type of blood clot with an anticoagulant drug called heparin. However, health regulators have noted that it could be dangerous in this case and recommended a different treatment.

Meanwhile, J&J defended its vaccine saying that "no clear causal relationship" has been identified between the blood clots and the vaccine. The company said it is working closely with regulators to assess the data.

While speaking on several news shows, Dr. Fauci said the temporary halt on J&J's COVID-19 vaccine use is expected to be lifted as early as Friday. However, he added that the use could resume with some broad warnings or restrictions based on age or gender.

"I would be very surprised if we don't have a resumption in some form by Friday. I don't really anticipate that they're going to want it stretch it out a bit longer," he said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 6.8 million people in the US have received Johnson & Johnson vaccine as of April 12. About nine million more doses have been shipped out to the states.

The European Medicines Agency reacted to the temporary halt of the vaccine by saying that it believes the benefits of the COVID-19 vaccine outweigh the risks of side effects. The EMA added that it is currently investigating all the reported cases and will decide whether regulatory action is required.

The FDA authorized Johnson & Johnson's single-dose COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use on February 27 and the European Commission granted a Conditional Marketing Authorization for the vaccine on March 11.

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