The Truth About The Risks Of The Johnson & Johnson Vaccine

If you're one of the nearly seven million Americans who have received the Johnson & Johnson-made COVID-19 vaccine, it might not make you feel particularly good to know that the CDC and the FDA are putting a temporary freeze on the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine out of what it calls "an abundance of caution." The warning was triggered after an "extremely rare" disorder involving blood clots, appeared two weeks after the J&J vaccine was administered in six women. All were between the ages of 18 to 48, and symptoms were seen between six to 13 days after they were vaccinated. 

J&J has sought to clarify that "At present, no clear causal relationship has been established between these rare events and the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine." Company spokesman Jake Sargent adds that J&J will "continue to work closely with experts and regulators to assess the data and support the open communication of this information to healthcare professionals and the public" (via The Washington Post). 

Women who take birth control also run the risk of getting blood clots

While the jury is still out on whether the vaccine will actually cause more harm than good, it's important to remember that according to Pandia Health, 1 in 1,000 women who take birth control pills are likely to develop blood clots as a side effect, and those odds are much higher than the ones faced by anyone who might have gotten the J&J shot.

There were others that took to social media to weigh in on the controversy using statistics and probability. One Twitter user said there was a need for the CDC to define what "relative risk" meant with regard to the vaccine because "The odds of becoming a lightning victim in the U.S. in any one year is 1 in 700,000". Which is less than the ~1 / 1,000,000 odds of getting a blood clot 2 weeks after the J&J vaccine," he said.

Another pointed out that "1/1,000,000 chance if a blood clot if I take the vaccine. 1/16 chance if a blood clot if I get the virus. I think the risk is worth it."

Social media is still very pro-vaccine

Perhaps one of the most meaningful social media exchanges about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine suspension involved a member of the Twitterverse who says she knew one of the six who had been struck with the mysterious blood clot ailment. She said: "My friend is 1 of these 6 women. She's currently in the hospital with blood clots all over her body. She STILL thinks everyone should get the vaccine if they can – it's literally a 1 in a million chance." 

The social media user also added that her friend "[is] 30, but she'll be on blood thinners for the next 6 months or so. All in all, she's on the mend and she said it was worth it to get the vaccine! This is such an extremely rare reaction – the blood thinners she's on have a higher chance at causing clots then this vax did." In conclusion, "She said she's glad it happened to her and not someone who might discourage further vaccinations. Big picture thinking!"