A CDC advisory panel on Thursday voted to recommend that adults 18 and over should give preference to the Pfizer and Moderna Covid-19 vaccines over Johnson & Johnson’s shot, citing dozens of cases of people developing a rare blood clot condition after receiving the J&J shot, including nine people who died.
The vote serves to discourage vaccine providers and American adults from using the one-dose vaccine. Some panel members endorsed exceptions for people who do not have access to the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech shots, or for those who still want the J&J shots after being warned of the rare side effect.
“It’s really important, though, that we not completely eliminate this vaccine,” said Dr. Jason Goldman, a representative of the American College of Physicians and assistant professor of clinical biomedical science at Florida Atlantic University, according to the New York Times.
The panel’s vote came after new data it received on Thursday showed a higher risk for blood clotting than previously reported; the rate of the condition was 3.8 cases per one million people given the vaccine. The CDC has confirmed 54 cases of the clotting-related syndrome called thrombosis with thrombocytopenia, which causes blood clots and low platelet levels and mostly affects younger women. All 54 of the patients were hospitalized, 36 were treated in intensive care and nine people died.
The group’s recommendation now heads to the CDC, which will decide whether to accept it.
Some 16 million people in the U.S. have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine as their primary immunization, according to the New York Times. Meanwhile, 73 million Americans are fully immunized with Moderna’s vaccine and 114 million have received Pfizer shots.
The Johnson & Johnson shot has accounted for just 1.5 percent of booster shots.
The FDA issued updated guidance earlier this week on the blood-clotting side effect of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, though it ruled that the benefits outweighed its risks.
Still, evidence has shown one dose of the Johnson & Johnson shot to be less effective in preventing infection than the Moderna or Pfizer shots. In October, U.S. health officials authorized boosters for people who had received a single shot of the J&J at least two months earlier and allowed those individuals to receive the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine as a booster.