Man develops rare blood clot condition after getting J&J vaccine at University of Utah

J&J Vaccine
File Photo: Johnson and Johnson/Facebook

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, May 5, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — A Utah man has developed blood clots after getting the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at the University of Utah Hospital.

The man, described as younger than 50, was treated for clots in his leg, and is expected to make a full recovery, University of Utah Health officials said at a news conference Wednesday. Speakers at the news conference were Richard Orlandi, MD, Associate Chief Medical Officer for Ambulatory Health, and Dr. Yazan Abou-Ismail, assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Hematology at the University of Utah.

The patient at first noticed pain in his legs, and went to a local caregiver, who put him on a blood thinner, the doctors said at the news conference. The next day, the patient experienced chest pains, and he returned to University Hospital, where doctors diagnosed him with vaccine-induced Thrombotic Thrombocytopenia, a rare blood disorder known to cause clotting in small blood vessels.

Abou-Ismail said the patient is now recovering at home.

“He continues to do well and feel well,” Abou-Ismail at the news conference.

Link not yet documented

The man’s case is being investigated by officials at the Centers for Disease Control, who suspect a link between the vaccination and the clots, but who have not yet confirmed the link.

The man’s clots occurred about 10 days after his inoculation, according to information released by University of Utah Health officials.

Only about 17 cases of the rare side effect have been formally confirmed by the CDC, a recent news release from the organization said. All confirmed cases involved women, doctors said, but two other cases involving males are still being vetted, as is the Utah man’s case.

Most vaccine-induced Thrombotic Thrombocytopenia cases, in the U.S. and elsewhere, have been in women younger that 50, officials said during the news conference.

With two other vaccines — Moderna or Pfizer — readily available in the U.S. the doctors said women younger than 50 or anyone known to be prone to blood clots may want to talk with their doctors about which vaccine is best for them.

Johnson & Johnson vaccine distribution was paused April13 after the first cases of the rare clotting side effect was first reported. Ten days later, the CDC elected to resume Johnson & Johnson vaccinations for those who wanted them, because the rate of complications is so low, with less than two dozen incidents occurring in roughly 8 million vaccinations in the U.S. COVID-19 presents a much higher risk of illness and death, CDC officials concluded.

Unlike the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, the Johnson & Johnson product is a single dose vaccine, which is an advantage in rural and other areas where people might find a second dose to be difficult to schedule.

University of Utah Health tweeted several messages on Wednesday afternoon, including:

  • “Vaccine-induced Thrombotic Thrombocytopenia is extremely rare. To my knowledge, the patient who experienced this was probably the 3rd man in the U.S. to get this.” — Yazan Abou-Ismail, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Hematology
  • “We still encourage the community to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. The benefits of the vaccine greatly outweigh the risk of contracting COVID-19.” — Richard Orlandi, MD, Associate Chief Medical Officer for Ambulatory Health

Gephardt Daily will provide updated information as the story develops.


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