Nielsen provides perspective on Johnson & Johnson vaccine

Apr 15, 2021

The distribution of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine may be on pause, says Dr. Nancy Nielsen, but its benefits are still worth considering "Remember, we've had 7 million people that have already gotten it." The former President of the American Medical Association is applauding the decision to halt distribution, calling the move "government at its best." As health officials review the data, Nielsen offers some thoughts for those who have already received the vaccine.


Dr. Nancy Nielsen is the Senior Associate Dean for Health Policy at UB's Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

If the vaccine was provided more than three weeks ago, Nielsen assures there are no concerns. More recent recipients should notify their physicians if they have "symptoms of severe headache" or "severe abdominal pain--nausea, vomiting, that sort of thing."

The Senior Associate Dean for Health Policy at UB's Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences plans to watch unfolding analysis of the controversial vaccine. She shared some thoughts moving forward.

"What is the risk of dying of COVID? It's one in 586 people," Nielsen said.

"That's far higher than the risk of getting a blood clot from J&J (vaccine)."

To this point, six women who had received the vaccine have developed blood clots in the brain. One person died. Another is in critical condition.

"All these patients also had low platelets, those elements in the blood that promote clotting," Nielsen pointed out.  

"Low platelets and the very unusual blood clotting is what drew the attention of regulators."