The CDC is investigating a hospitalization in Texas possibly linked to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
It may be linked to a rare blood clotting condition seen in just a handful of people so far.
The news comes a day before a CDC panel looks to recommend bringing the shot back into the market. At this point, 31% of eligible Texans are fully vaccinated.
But state officials say that’s not enough to get us to herd immunity and protect against variants that continue to show up.
An illustration picture shows vials with Covid-19 Vaccine stickers attached and syringes with the logo of US pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
The Texas Department of State Health Services announced Thursday the state’s first reported hospitalization possibly linked to receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which is currently on hold while federal regulators investigate cases of a rare side effect involving six people out of the millions dosed.
"The patient is an adult female who was hospitalized after receiving the J&J vaccine with symptoms that appear to be consistent with those that have been reported in a few other cases," said State Health Director Imelda Garcia.
DSHS would not provide the woman’s age, location or condition.
This all comes just one day before an independent advisory panel for the CDC is set to meet and provide a recommendation over how to proceed with the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. Its use is temporarily stopped to investigate the potential side effect.
There are reports the panel will recommend the FDA continue emergency authorization but add a rare side effect warning.
"It’s important to remember that just because something is reported it doesn’t necessarily mean that it was caused by or linked to the vaccine," Garcia said.
There is concern some of this news may keep people from getting vaccinated. And lately, there’s been a downturn in demand statewide.
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins tweeted on Thursday the Fair Park vaccination site has no lines and no wait and 1,800 doses set to expire on Monday.
"It seems we’re getting to the point that most people eager to get vaccinated have gotten at least their first dose. So the next phase will be about helping ensure that vaccine is more easily available to those folks who are not going to go as far out of their way," he said.
And that means moving doses out of mass vaccination sites and into pharmacies and doctor’s offices.
The goal is to keep variants from spreading. A new one was discovered just this week Texas A&M scientists. A student was infected by a mutation linked to the UK variant. The student remained infected for several weeks, suggesting it may cause longer infections.
For now, state health leaders aren’t as concerned about that one as it is by others already circulating.
Health officials have not given a timeline on herd immunity but say due to vaccinations slowing it may take a little while longer to get there.