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AHA Supports CDC Preference for mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines

Editor’s note: Get the most recent COVID-19 news and guidance in Medscape’s Coronavirus Resource Center. Coronavirus Resource Center.

In a statement of a scientific nature released today in a statement of scientific consensus, the American Heart Association (AHA) affirms its full support for the updated federal guidance regarding COVID-19 vaccines and boosters and implores all eligible Americans to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

After receiving a safety report on cases of thrombosis and thrombocytopenia (TTS) last week, the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization practices (ACIP) voted unanimously (15-0).

TTS, also known as vaccine-induced thrombocytopenia with thrombosis (VITT) causes large clots that drain blood of platelets, resulting in uncontrolled bleeding.

Cases of TTS have been reported for a few days after the administration of the J&J COVID-19 vaccine.

From March 2 to August 31st, 2021, there were 54 cases of hospitalized patients with TTS in the US, out of 14.1 million doses of the J&J vaccine given, which is an incidence rate of 3.8 cases per million doses.

The 54 documented cases of TTS were found in adults ranging from 28 to 62 years and 37 cases were reported in women. So far, there has been no reported cases of TTS occurring following the administration of the J&J booster shot.

“The mRNA vaccines have been selected by the majority of adults due to the most current information on the serious but rare adverse reaction of TTS following the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccination,” states the statement of AHA president Donald Lloyd Jones, MD. Michelle Albert, MD is the president-elect Michelle Albert.

They stress that “despite the small risk of TTS the benefits of any one of the three COVID-19 vaccinations approved in the US outweigh the risk of remaining unvaccinated.”

The J&J COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for people who are not able to receive one of the mRNA MRNA vaccines because of an allergy or other medical reason or who are not interested in receiving an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.

“It’s also a great option for those who have limited access to the two required doses of mRNA vaccinations, and also for those who have difficulties accessing healthcare, such as those who are homeless or live in remote areas or in countries with less resources for healthcare,” Lloyd-Jones says.

The AHA suggests that anyone who has received the J&J vaccine be monitored closely for symptoms of TTS and seek immediate treatment.

In April, as reported by Medscape Medical News, the AHA published a special report, Diagnosis and Management of Cerebral Venous Sinus Thrombosis with Vaccine-Induced Thrombotic Thrombocytopenia, that offers valuable information about the symptoms and signs of TTS and the most effective treatment options.

“With the Omicron variant rapidly spreading across the US and Canada, we strongly urge all children aged 5 and over to be vaccines against COVID-19 and receive a booster dose as soon as they are eligible,” Lloyd-Jones and colleagues advise.

“Boosters are especially important for those 50 years old and older who have underlying medical conditions or any adult in an inpatient facility,” they add.

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