U.S. health officials have lifted an 11-day pause on Johnson & Johnson vaccinations following a recommendation by an expert panel. 

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Advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday the benefits of the single-dose COVID-19 shot outweigh a rare risk of blood clots. 

A U.S. health panel said earlier Friday it was time to resume use of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine, despite a very rare risk of blood clots. The vote was 10 in favor, four opposed and one abstention.

Out of nearly 8 million people vaccinated before the U.S. suspended J&J’s shot, health officials uncovered 15 cases of a highly unusual kind of blood clot, three of them fatal.

All were women, most younger than 50. But advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday the vaccine’s benefits outweigh that serious but small risk -- especially against a virus that’s still infecting tens of thousands of Americans every day.

Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human Services received about 200 doses of the J&J vaccine right before it was announced that the vaccines were paused. 

Public Information Specialist for Columbia/Boone County PHHS Sarah Humm says the health department still has those doses readily available and will wait for guidance on when to resume those vaccinations. 

Humm says she understands there may be some hesitancy from people to get the J&J vaccine, but says it's important to recognize that the CDC would not continue giving vaccines if it wasn't safe.

"I think people can take comfort in knowing that it's being taken seriously and that the CDC and FDA wanted to take a look at that and see if there were any other additional issues that may be expected," Humm said. 

Panel members said it’s critical that younger women be told about that risk so they can decide if they’d rather choose another vaccine.

The CDC and Food and Drug Administration agreed. European regulators earlier this week made a similar decision, deciding the clot risk was small enough to allow the rollout of J&J’s shot.

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