Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine cleared for use by CDC

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Johnson and Johnson vaccine was cleared for use on Friday.

It was paused last week, so reports of blood clots in 15 vaccine recipients could be investigated.

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Dr. Steve Threlkeld, who is one of the area’s foremost authorities on infectious diseases, said you are more likely to get blood clots from a COVID infection than a Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

“You have to look at those numbers and realize it’s still way safer to get the vaccine than not get the vaccine,” said Threlkeld.

Dr. Threlkeld is an infectious disease specialist at Baptist Memorial Hospital.

He was referring to the 15 cases where blood clots occurred in people who received the J and J vaccine.

Most of those cases were in women between the ages of 18 to 49 years.

Overall, the risk of developing blood clots is seven in one million for women in that age group according to the Tennessee Department of Health.

RELATED: Coronavirus: Health officials lift pause on Johnson & Johnson vaccine

“People think well that’s terrible that someone can get the vaccine and die. Absolutely. It’s also terrible for someone who gets COVID and dies,” said Threlkeld.

Threlkeld said the CDC and FDA made the right move by pausing the administration of the vaccines so an investigation can take place

“I think probably all and all it was good to show that people are really serious about the safety of this thing,” said Threlkeld.

Threlkeld said the benefits of the J and J vaccine outweigh the risks.

He said getting a vaccine is better than not getting one but still people should do their research before making a decision.

“If I were a woman age 39 and had all three vaccines available to me and I had to pick one it might be a reasonable choice to take one of the other vaccines, it’s not a reasonable choice to have that be the only vaccine available and choose not to get it,” he said.

Threlkeld suggested women between the ages of 18 and 49 consider Pfizer and Moderna instead of the J and J vaccines because the other vaccines are not associated with blood clots.