Yale doctor weighs in on FDA’s decision to pause Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine after rare clotting condition


NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — The FDA paused the Johnson & Johnson one-shot vaccine based on a rare blood clotting condition. The agency is now reviewing data in the matter.

Dr. Sharon Stoll, a Yale Medicine neuro-immunologist weighs in on this rare condition.

“One thing that I want to make aware is it’s not typical blood clots, it’s not your typical DVT, it’s not your typical deep vein thrombosis. Some of these clots are happening in the brain, in the vessels of the brain.”

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Dr. Stoll says that leads to severe neurologic complications such as headaches, seizures, unsteadiness. She points out that any vaccination can have side effects.

“A lot of these things that I mentioned can happen with any vaccine. To develop headaches or dizziness is somewhat common.”

She says unlike DVT’s, women are more susceptible to this type of condition, especially if they get migraines, smoke and are on oral contraceptives. It is not known if any of the women who had the J & J reaction were in those categories.

“Johnson & Johnson I would still recommend. I would still widely use it. Again, one in a million is extremely rare but I agree with the FDA about pausing until we get a better understanding,” says Dr. Stoll.

She encourages everyone to get vaccinated with Pfizer or Moderna in the meantime until more is known. She points out the bigger picture regarding COVID-19 and vaccination risks.

“In the numbers of risk of a clot, risk of stroke, risk of death with COVID itself we all know is significantly, significantly higher than the side effects we’re seeing from the Johnson &Johnson vaccine.”

Dr. Stoll stays the vaccine pause should help restore public faith in the medical community, displaying that the FDA has the public’s safety as its a top priority.

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