With Johnson & Johnson sidelined, Pfizer, Moderna vaccines are 'excellent alternatives'

By , KCBS Radio

Amid worrying news of a national pause in distribution of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine, people may understandably have questions and concerns about getting vaccinated.

But while doctors are assuring people it’s safe to go ahead and make their appointments, Dr. Fola May told KCBS Radio's "Ask An Expert" on Wednesday that she thinks it’s prudent to hold off on the Johnson & Johnson shots for now - especially because there are two excellent alternatives.

"I think our biggest concern right now in the medical and health communities (is) that patients are not going to be showing up for their vaccine appointments," she said. "We still want you to show up for your Moderna appointment and your Pfizer appointment."

Dr. May, associate professor of medicine at UCLA, explained the two mRNA vaccines use different technology and have not been associated with the concerns that led to a review of the Johnson & Johnson product.

Blood clots and low platelet counts were reported in six women aged 18 to 49 among more than 6.8 million who received the vaccine.

Breaking the numbers down further for that group, Dr. May said the risk of dying from COVID-19 far outweighs the risk of any possible side effects.

So one in 6,500 people who get COVID-19 in that age group who are women will die," she added. "Compared to one in over 200,000 who get this complication from the J&J. So the risk...they don’t even compare."

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