Vaccine advice for pregnant, postpartum women after J&J pause

Published: Apr. 14, 2021 at 12:58 PM EDT
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(CNN) – With a pause in the use of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, a new recommendation comes from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

The medical group is encouraging pregnant and postpartum women who wish to get vaccinated to get either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine instead, even if the J&J vaccine becomes available again.

“Pregnancy itself is a risk factor for blood clots, so when you’re thinking about the serious side effect that we’re talking about is blood clots, anything you can do to reduce that risk makes sense,” according to Dr. Sujatha Reddy, an OB-GYN in Atlanta.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration called for a pause in the use of the J&J vaccine out of “an abundance of caution.”

Out of more than 6.8 million doses of the vaccine administered in the United States, six cases have been reported in women 18-48 of a rare and severe type of blood clot.

It’s unclear whether the vaccine was the cause.

“We do know this is an exceedingly rare complication. It’s about one in a million, which is good because it is a serious complication,” Reddy said.

“We also know that most of these blood clots occur within two weeks from receiving the vaccine, so if you’re already past that two-week mark, you’re probably in the clear.”

The OB-GYN said pregnant women who have gotten the J&J vaccine should listen to their bodies and seek medical help if they experience any symptoms which could include severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness of breath.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists said its recommendation is being made until there’s a better understanding of the frequency and impact of the blood clot finding and whether its linked to the J&J vaccine.

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