Rheum Round-up: Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Updates, Insights From Rheumatologists, and more

This week, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended a pause in administration of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine following a few instances of blood clots within weeks of vaccination, according to a joint statement.

The news is of significance for immunocompromised patients, who are at a greater risk of COVID-19.

Michael C. Schweitz, MD, a rheumatologist with Arthritis and Rheumatology Associates of Palm Beach and a medical advisor to CreakyJoints, told me in an interview that he believes it’s important for patients with rheumatic disease to be vaccinated due to the significant risk that COVID-19 poses.

“I’m still recommending that patients get either Moderna or the Pfizer vaccine. As far as the J&J vaccine goes, I think the pause is a good idea to really get into the details of the significant problem, although we’re talking about 1 in a million. So these thrombotic events are so far are very limited, very rare, but serious,” he said.

Vinicius Domingues, MD, a rheumatologist in Daytona Beach, Fla., and medical advisor to CreakyJoints, told me that he does not believe the latest news means immunocompromised patients shouldn’t get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, and noted that more information will soon be available.

He recommends that doctors treating patients with rheumatic disease “inform their patients with more recent available data. I do believe the CDC and FDA will issue guidance very soon. This is a developing story still,” he noted. Read more of what Dr. Schweitz and Dr. Domingues had to say.

 

In Case You Missed It:

FDA, CDC: Pause Johnson & Johnson Vax—What This Means for Immunocompromised Patients

Here’s What Rheumatologists Have to Say About the Johnson & Johnson Vaccine

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