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What's concerning about rare cases of Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine blood clots

Johnson and Johnson
Posted at 4:35 AM, Apr 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-28 10:14:22-04

Right now, researchers are still trying to get to the bottom of the blood clot mystery with possible connections to the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.

But ABC15 Health Insider Dr. Janice Johnston of Redirect Health says even if there is a connection, it's still very uncommon.

"The biggest thing to keep in mind is that this is very rare," she explains. "There have been six cases in about seven million doses. To try to put that into perspective. This is a very rare type of thing... but it is significant and potentially very serious."

And part of the reason why these clots could be serious is how they are behaving.

"The most common types of blood clots that we see would be in the legs and break off and go to lungs," explains Dr. Johnston. "These blood clots related to the vaccine are forming in parts that are unusual. So we're seeing them in the brain, in the veinous sinuses... And what happens when these clots form in the brain is that the blood can't drain properly from the brain....We're also seeing them happen in the abdominal cavity as well. So they're just unusual places for those to form."

Dr. Johnston explains a number of things could put you at higher risk of developing blood clots, like if you smoke, use birth control, are obese, or have conditions like lupus or cancer.

If you have any of these conditions, Dr. Johnston recommends opting for the Pfizer or Moderna shots while researchers determine a possible link.

"We don't have all the answers and we have options, the best thing to say would be just because we don't know 100% for right now, we have not seen this with the mRNA vaccines, why don't you go ahead and get those ones instead. I think that would be the safest thing for right now while we don't know."