Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccinations were put on pause by federal health officials on Tuesday, including in Massachusetts. The pause is recommended until FDA and CDC scientists can look into why six recipients of the vaccine developed a rare blood clotting disorder.
Dr. Katherine Gergen Barnett spoke to Boston Public Radio on Tuesday, and said she appreciated the pause in Johnson & Johnson vaccinations.
"I think it’s a very wise idea until we can get more data," she said. "There is no clear causal relation at this point but it's important to pause."
So far only six cases of rare blood clotting have developed out of the 6.8 million doses that have been administered, Gergen Barnett noted. She said that the data shows an extraordinarily rare probability of developing this type of blood clotting.
"We need to keep that perspective, because I think there are many, many things that we do every day that put us in more danger to our lives," she said. "Yet obviously the blood clots needs to be examined — and the fact that all six cases have been women."
Gergen Barnett spoke about the importance of getting vaccinated against the coronavirus.
"We live in a place where we constantly have to weigh risk versus benefit of everything we do," she said. "The tremendous benefit for getting a vaccine that will, close to 100 percent, prevent you from dying if you get COVID-19 — in all situations the benefit of that outweighs the risk."
Gergen Barnett is the vice chair of primary care innovation and transformation in the Department of Family Medicine at Boston Medical Center and B.U. Medical School.