Women who recently had the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine should be “alert to some symptoms” of blood clots, Dr. Anthony Fauci has warned — as investigators examine whether they are a “hormonal” response tied to birth control.
Just hours after the shot was halted in the US on Tuesday, Fauci told CBS News that the six women reporting the potentially deadly clots had them “between six days and 13 days” after getting the one-dose shot.
“So if you’ve had it a month or two ago, I think you really don’t need to worry about anything,” he stated, saying that even those who have had it more recently should remember it “is a very rare event.”
“It’s less than one in a million,” he said of the vaccine, which had been administered 6.85 million times in the US before being paused.
“Having said that, you still want to be alert to some symptoms, such as severe headache, some difficulty in movement, or some chest discomfort and difficulty breathing,” the government’s top infectious disease expert cautioned.
Fauci revealed that scientists “absolutely” think the clots could be a hormonal reaction, with all the women reporting problems being of childbearing age.
“That’s one of the things that we want to investigate. There have been similar types of phenomena that have occurred during pregnancy,” he said.
“Clotting abnormalities are known in women who take birth control pills, so certainly there could be a hormonal aspect to this,” he said.
“That’s one of the questions that’s gonna be asked about these people, was there a commonality of people on birth control pills?” he said, stressing that they “don’t know the answer to that right now.”
His comments came as a federal advisory panel plans to hold a three-hour emergency meeting for Wednesday to debate whether the shot should be used in the future, according to a draft agenda posted online.
The virtual meeting of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, starting at 1:30 p.m., is open to the public.
Fauci said that a major “concern” in halting the product was the potential it could fuel hesitancy to get vaccinated at all.
“You look at it, 121 million people have received at least one dose of a vaccine,” he said saying the vast majority were Moderna and Pfizer with “no negative or adverse or red flag signal” emerging from those.
“In other words, they are very safe,” he insisted.
President Biden insisted Tuesday that there are enough shots of the other vaccine brands to keep the US on its planned timeline for inoculations.