J&J COVID-19 vaccine pause to be reviewed by U.S. panel next week

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Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine is administered in Bay Shore, NY
Johnson & Johnson's coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines are seen at Northwell Health's South Shore University Hospital in Bay Shore, New York, U.S., March 3, 2021. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

April 16 (Reuters) - A U.S. panel will meet again next week to discuss whether the pause on the use of Johnson & Johnson's (JNJ.N) COVID-19 vaccine should continue, after delaying a vote on the matter earlier this week.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advisory panel will meet on April 23, a top U.S. health official said on Friday.

The continued pause "will allow additional time to review any additional cases that might come in, and for (the panel) to conduct a complete risk assessment and to evaluate the emerging science," CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said during a Friday news conference.

U.S. health regulators recommended earlier this week that use of the J&J vaccine be paused after reports of six cases of rare brain blood clots in women, out of some 7 million people who have received the shotin the United States. read more

The advisory panel on Wednesday called for more data before making a decision on how and whether to resume use of the one-shot vaccine. read more

Walensky said supply of COVID-19 vaccines from Moderna Inc (MRNA.O) and Pfizer Inc (PFE.N) will remain strong, even as administering of J&J's vaccine remains on hold.

"We continue to work with pharmacies, states and FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) to make sure the vaccine supply remains robust across the country," she said.

Reuters reported on Friday that rich countries are stocking up on Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna shots as concerns mount about vaccines from J&J and AstraZeneca Plc (AZN.L). read more

Walensky said she is very concerned about rising U.S. COVID-19 cases driven by the relaxing of state restrictions to curb virus transmission and the spread of more contagious new coronavirus variants of COVID-19.

The U.S. seven-day average daily case count is 69,500, with hospitalizations up 5% to 8%, and daily deaths have increased for the third day in a row, Walensky added.

Reporting by Manas Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli

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