J & J vaccine for Canadians 30 years of age and older recommended by national panel

Panel says this for those in the age bracket who don't want to wait for Pfizer or Moderna

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommended on Monday that all Canadians 30 years of age and older who don’t want to wait for Pfizer or Moderna should get a jab with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Officials said individuals in that age bracket need to weigh the risk of rare but potentially serious blood clots that can occur.

The advice from NACI is almost identical to that issued for the AstraZeneca vaccine last month.

Canada has reported seven known cases of blood clots connected to receiving an AstraZeneca shot, and of them was fatal.

The J & J vaccine was approved by Health Canada in March and will soon be distributed across the country.

“NACI weighed the benefits of the Janssen vaccine in saving lives and protecting populations against serious complications of COVID-19 against the risk of developing VITT,” said NACI vice-chair Dr. Shelley Deeks said during a news conference Monday. 

“At this time, based on the current evidence, NACI recommends that similar to the AstraZeneca vaccine, the Janssen vaccine may be offered to individuals 30 years of age and over without contraindications if the individual prefers an earlier vaccine rather than waiting for an mRNA vaccine and if the benefits outweigh the risks.

The first 300,000 doses of the J & J vaccine are on hold at a Toronto-area warehouse after Health Canada announced Friday that an ingredient in the vaccine was produced at a Maryland facility cited for quality-control and safety violations, and officials want to make sure what is here is safe to use.

Canada has a deal with J & J for 10 million doses.