On May 5, 2022, the FDA limited the authorized use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to:
- Adults (18 or older) who cannot receive the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines (either because of availability or health reasons)
- Adults (18 or older) who choose the Johnson & Johnson vaccine or not receiving any vaccine at all.
The FDA made the decision to limit the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine because there is a very small – but still present – link to cases of a rare syndrome that could lead to blood clots (thrombocytopenia or TTS).
As of March 18, 2022, out of the more than 18.5 million doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine administered in the US, there were 60 confirmed cases of TTS, including 9 which were fatal.
While the risk of TTS is very low, the FDA has chosen to restrict the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to adults who otherwise would not receive a COVID vaccination (since the risks of harm from COVID are much, much greater).
If you are considering receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, please consult with your doctor to see if it’s the best choice for you.