Six women in the US have experienced a rare combination of cerebral venous sinus thrombosis — clotting in the sinuses that drain blood from the brain — and low levels of blood platelets following the single-shot J&J vaccine, which has been given to almost 7 million people. One of those cases has been fatal, making the incidence of the blood disorder and fatality rate extremely low. The combination of clots and low blood platelet counts is the same condition reported in dozens of people in Europe who had received the AstraZeneca vaccine.
“What has to be appreciated is the ability for governors to reinstill confidence after something like this is 100 times harder than the pause in the first place,” he told federal officials on the call.
Meanwhile, J&J has paused its vaccine rollout in Europe, as the European Medicines Agency (EMA) said it was closely monitoring developments around the shot in the US. EMA confirmed a “possible link” between the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine and the same combination of blood clots and low platelet counts last week, but it stopped short of advising countries to limit its use.
YOU ASKED. WE ANSWERED.
Q. I’ve had the J&J vaccine. Should I be worried?
A. It’s important to remember that the combination of blood clotting and low blood platelet counts is extremely rare, less than one in a million at the moment. Dr. Anthony Fauci has explained that the pause is aimed at giving officials time to determine if the problem is more widespread than that, and to inform medical providers not to use a type of blood thinner called Heparin. The drug is usually used to treat blood clots but could be dangerous in people with this rare combination of clots and low platelet counts.
WHAT’S IMPORTANT TODAY
The pandemic has put the world on track for more inequality and instability, US intelligence report says
The dire economic picture boosts the risk of internal conflicts, surges in cross-border migration and even the collapse of national governments, officials warned. The report, known as the Annual Threat Assessment, is typically made public once a year, but bitter wrangling between the Trump administration and Congress kept the 2020 document locked away.
The Olympics is in 100 days. It might become a super-spreader event.
When volunteers for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics have asked officials how they’ll be protected from Covid-19 recently — given the foreign athletes pouring into Japan for the event and the country’s low vaccination rate — the answer has been simple: They’ll get a small bottle of hand sanitizer and two masks each.
Deaths outpace births in some Brazilian cities as Covid-19 surges
For the sixth month in a row, the city of Rio de Janeiro has seen more deaths than births — a devastating indicator of Brazil’s unceasing Covid-19 crisis. The nation’s second most populous city registered 36,437 deaths in March, 16% more than the month’s 32,060 new births. It wasn’t alone: At least 10 other Brazilian cities with populations over half a million people also registered more deaths than births last month.
ON OUR RADAR
- Vaccine passport apps are about to be everywhere. It could get complicated.
- More young people in the US are being hospitalized with Covid-19 as the “stickier” B.1.1.7 variant, first identified in the UK, becomes more dominant …
- … but it’s still unclear how much the variant has to do with the uptick. Two new studies suggest that while it is more contagious, it doesn’t appear to affect disease severity. Those findings, however, contradict an earlier study.
- A UK clinical trial looking at the efficacy of mixing different vaccines in a two-dose regimen has been expanded. Its findings could have implications for people who have taken one shot of the AstraZeneca or Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced a partial lockdown for the first two weeks of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, as Turkey continues to post record numbers of coronavirus cases and increasing daily deaths.
TODAY’S TOP TIP
Some people have responded to lockdowns and restrictions with a boost to their exercise regime. Others have become couch potatoes, or are struggling to balance work and home life, leaving less time for fitness. What does this all mean for your Covid-19 risk? A new study by the healthcare consortium Kaiser Permanente shows that a history of being consistently active is strongly associated with a reduced risk of severe Covid-19. Even if you don’t have that history, it’s never too late to get started.
“It really allows both the FDA and the CDC to further investigate these cases, to try and understand some of the mechanisms of what it is.” — Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to the President, on the J&J pause