What do we know about the J&J vaccine safety in women?

The NWHN is closely following the emerging information on the safety of the J&J COVID-19 vaccine.  An unusual type of blood clot has been reported to occur in six women after they received the J&J vaccine.  One woman died and one is hospitalized in serious condition.

We do not know whether the J&J vaccine caused these blood clots to occur.  Nearly seven million people have received the J&J shot in the United States.  The blood clots may have happened by chance.

However, we believe that it was a reasonable decision for the FDA and CDC to recommend that vaccination programs temporarily pause using the J&J vaccine while these cases are investigated.

We have requested the opportunity to provide input to the CDC’s vaccine advisory committee.

We plan to tell the committee the following:  

  • It is urgent to tell women as much as you know about this emerging situation, including how to recognize warning signs of a blood clot.
  • Women can be excellent advocates for themselves if they have reliable information about their health and the medicines they are given.
  • Women can deal with uncertainty. We do it all the time. Don’t be afraid of telling us you don’t have all the answers.
  • Black, Indigenous and other women of color are more likely to die of COVID-19 than are White women.
  • Women are more likely than are men to have their self-report of symptoms ignored or downplayed by health professionals. BIPOC women are even more likely to experience dismissive treatment when they report symptoms.
  • CDC should urge in the strongest terms that all health professionals take women seriously when they report symptoms in the first few weeks after receiving any vaccine, not just the J&J vaccine.
  • During this time of multiple threats to the health of women, when we urgently need access to safe and effective vaccines, we know that the CDC and other public health policy makers are challenged to chart the safest course.
  • We appreciate your work and your commitment to sharing your process with the public.

We will update our information about the safety of the J&J vaccine as we learn more.

M. Isabelle Chaudry, J.D., is the Senior Policy Manager for the NWHN and an advocate for marginalized communities of women. Isabelle actively lobbies and provides expert testimony before Congress and the FDA for women’s health and cosmetic policies. She is an LL.M candidate in International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law and a Board Member for Women’s Voices for the Earth.

Read more from M. Isabelle Chaudry.