Latest updates on Johnson & Johnson: topline messages

On December 16, the CDC updated its recommendations on COVID-19 vaccines, recommending that people opt to get a Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine over the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. This recommendation was based on the latest scientific evidence on vaccine effectiveness, vaccine safety, and considerations of the U.S. supply. Specifically, new data showed a very small, but increased risk for a rare blood clot disorder for those who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Out of more than 16 million people who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the CDC has confirmed cases of this disorder. 

The FDA and CDC take vaccine safety very seriously, which is why all vaccines are closely monitored. The risk of having a serious adverse reaction to the COVID-19 vaccine is very low — far lower than the risk of contracting COVID-19. The identification of any possible risks, like the low risks associated with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, is a sign that the nation’s safety monitoring system for COVID-19 vaccines is working.

People who are not yet vaccinated, along with those who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and are now eligible for a booster shot, should get a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. These two vaccines are widely available, but Johnson & Johnson vaccines are still on the market for people who are unwilling or unable to get a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.

The onset of adverse reactions to the J&J vaccine have been reported to occur within 18 days of receiving the vaccine.

Added December 17, 2021