US CDC probes new death, hospitalisation after J&J Covid-19 vaccine shots

US health agencies recommended pausing the use of the J&J single-shot vaccine.
US health agencies recommended pausing the use of the J&J single-shot vaccine.PHOTO: REUTERS

TEXAS (REUTERS) - The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is investigating the death of an Oregon woman and the hospitalisation of another in Texas after receiving Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine, state health officials said.

The incident comes as advisers to the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will meet on Friday (April 23) to consider whether it is safe to resume injections of J&J's Covid-19 vaccine and senior US health officials prepare for a green light.

"It's important to remember that just because something is reported, it doesn't necessarily mean that it was caused by or linked to the vaccine," Ms Imelda Garcia, associate commissioner at the Texas health agency's division for infectious diseases, was quoted as saying in the newspaper.

The CDC notified Oregon about the incident on Tuesday and Texas on Wednesday, the two states’ health officials said.

The Oregon woman, who is in her 50s, received the vaccine before the pause order on its use was issued, the state’s health authority said in a statement. She developed “a rare but serious blood clot within two weeks following vaccination,” seen in combination with very low platelets, the Oregon Health Authority added.

It warned that blame could not be assigned until its investigation was complete.

Separately, a woman in Texas who received J&J’s vaccine has been hospitalised for symptoms similar to those who recently suffered blood clots after taking the shot in the United States, a Texas health agency spokesman said.

"The patient is an adult female who was hospitalised after receiving the J&J vaccine with symptoms that appear to be consistent with the cases reported elsewhere last week," the spokesman said in an e-mailed statement.

The Austin American-Statesman newspaper, which first reported the incident, said the federal authorities were probing the case.

Both states confirmed that the new cases were separate from the previous incidents.

Last week, US health agencies recommended a pause in the use of the J&J vaccine over the six rare cases of blood clots, among roughly 7 million people who have received the shot.

The European Medicines Agency said on Tuesday that it found a possible link between J&J's vaccine and rare blood clotting issues in adults who received doses in the US, but it said that the benefits of the one-dose shot outweigh its risks.