Los Angeles Times

Don’t panic over a vaccine pause


Re “States try to stay on track amid a pause on J&J shots,” April 14

The finding that six women developed blood clots in the brain’s draining veins after they received the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine is of concern. Yet the full context of federal agencies’ recommende­d pausing of the use of this vaccine requires additional informatio­n.

The natural occurrence of such clots is approximat­ely 13 people per million. More than 7 million Johnson & Johnson vaccines have been administer­ed, so six clotting cases in young women out of 7 million may not be statistica­lly different from background occurrence. Hormones and birth control medication are co-variables.

Before we jump to conclusion­s of causation, let the U.S. Food and Drug Administra­tion do its work.

Michael Brant-Zawadzki, M.D.

Newport Beach

While it is important for the public to be aware that six women who received the Johnson & Johnson shot developed this dangerous clotting condition, I would suggest expanding on why six cases out of more than 7 million doses administer­ed are not of grave concern.

As a public health student at UC Berkeley, I recognize how powerful media can influence public opinion. By comparing the prevalence of blood clots among vaccine recipients to that of people who take birth control pills or smoke, for example, the issue may not be so frightenin­g. Stephanie Rosa

Los Angeles

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