The advisers voted to change their recommendations for Covid-19 vaccines to make clear that mRNA shots are preferred

The new recommendation: “mRNA vaccines are preferred over the Janssen Covid-19 vaccine for the prevention of Covid-19 for those 18 years of age and over.”

The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices endorsed the updated recommendation after hearing new data indicating that a rare blood clotting syndrome is more common among people who recently got a J&J vaccine than previously believed. The CDC has logged 54 cases in the US of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome or TTS in the US since the vaccine became available. Nine people have died — seven women and two men.

ACIP members considered the new data and weighed it against numerous studies showing J&J’s vaccine is less effective than the Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines in preventing infection. They also discussed the risks of completely removing J&J’s vaccine as an option, as well as the potential confusion and mistrust that might be caused by changing recommendations about the vaccine. “We will absolutely emphasize how important education around the risk of these events is,” the CDC’s Dr Sara Oliver told the meeting.

Earlier this week, the US Food and Drug Administration strengthened language in the fact sheet that goes along with the Janssen vaccine, saying it should not be given to anyone with a history of TTS.

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