The Biden administration paused the distribution of Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccinations on Tuesday after six recipients in the United States developed a “rare and severe” disorder involving blood clots after receiving the vaccine.
According to a statement released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), six women between the ages of 18 and 48 developed a blood clot within about two weeks of vaccination. One woman died and a second woman has been hospitalized and is in critical condition.
“We are recommending a pause in the use of this vaccine out of an abundance of caution,” The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) wrote on Twitter Tuesday.
6.8 million people in the United States have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine as of April 12.
“The U.S. CDC & FDA are reviewing data involving 6 reported U.S. cases of a rare & severe type of blood clot in individuals after receiving the vaccine. Right now, these adverse events appear to be extremely rare,” the FDA said.
“I know that the information we are providing today is going to be very concerning for Americans who have already received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and I want to let you know what we’re doing to learn more and to protect people in the meantime and what you can do to be on the alert,” Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the CDC, said during a Tuesday press conference. “There have been six reports of a severe stroke-like illness linked to low platelet counts.”
“For people who recently got the vaccine within the last couple weeks, they should be aware to look for any symptoms,” Schuchat said. “If you received the vaccine and develop severe headaches, abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness or breath, you should contact your healthcare provider and seek medical treatment.”
“Importantly there are three vaccines available and we are not seeing the clotting events with low platelet counts with the other two vaccines,” Schuchat continued.
Johnson & Johnson said the “safety and well-being of people who use our products” remains the company’s number one priority.
Follow Annaliese Levy on Twitter @AnnalieseLevy
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Elizabeth Warren Acknowledges Unintended Consequences of Obamacare
Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, a longtime supporter of the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, is now acknowledging the unintended consequences of the healthcare legislation, particularly its impact on industry consolidation and rising healthcare prices.
Warren, who has been a vocal proponent of Obamacare, has recently had what the Wall Street Journal reported as an “epiphany” regarding the consequences of the healthcare law. In a letter addressed to the Health and Human Services Department inspector general, Warren, along with Senator Mike Braun of Indiana, expressed concerns about vertically-integrated healthcare companies potentially increasing prescription drug costs and evading federal regulations.
According to reports from Fox News, the bipartisan letter highlighted issues with the nation’s largest health insurers allegedly bypassing Obamacare’s medical loss ratio (MLR). According to Warren, these insurers, through vertical integration, have manipulated the system, leading to “sky-high prescription drug costs and excessive corporate profits.”
The senators detailed how conglomerates, like UnitedHealth Group, with ownership across various healthcare sectors, could inflate medical payments to pharmacies and, by realizing those payments on the pharmacy side, appear to comply with MLR requirements while retaining more profits.
Moreover, despite the Democrats’ argument that the MLR would benefit patients, it has incentivized insurers to merge with or acquire pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), retail and specialty pharmacies, and healthcare providers. This, in turn, has made healthcare spending less transparent, as insurers can allegedly shift profits to their affiliates by increasing reimbursements.
Warren, who has consistently voted against Obamacare repeal efforts, notably advocated for a “Medicare for All” proposal during her 2020 presidential campaign. Despite her prior support for the healthcare law, Warren’s recent concerns about its unintended consequences have raised questions about the long-term effects of Obamacare and its impact on the healthcare industry.
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