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US CDC and FDA Pause Johnson & Johnson COVID Vaccine Use; Shares Slide

U.S. FDA and CDC officials are concerned about reports linking the single-dose shot to rate blood clotting issue.

Johnson & Johnson  (JNJ) - Get Johnson & Johnson Report shares moved lower Tuesday after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration suspended use of the drugmaker's coronavirus vaccine amid concerns of blood clotting case. 

The CDC and the FDA said they will stop using the drug, developed by J&J's Janssen Pharmaceuticals division, at federal vaccination sites after six people were found to have developed a rare blood clot issue within two weeks of receiving the single-dose shot. CDC data indicates 6.8 million doses of the vaccine have been administered as of April 12.

"The CDC will convene a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) on Wednesday to further review these cases and assess their potential significance," the agencies said in a joint statement. "The FDA will review that analysis as it also investigates these cases. Until that process is complete, we are recommending a pause in the use of this vaccine out of an abundance of caution."

"This is important, in part, to ensure that the health care provider community is aware of the potential for these adverse events and can plan for proper recognition and management due to the unique treatment required with this type of blood clot," the statement added.

Johnson & Johnson shares were marked 2.6% lower in early trading Tuesday to change hands at $157.40 each following the CDC and FDA statement, trimming the stock's six-month gain to around 6%. 

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Morderna  (MRNA) - Get Moderna Inc. Report shares, meanwhile, surged 7.5% to $149.80 each while Pfizer  (PFE) - Get Pfizer Inc. Report was marked 0.4% higher at $37.15 each.

Johnson & Johnson said in a statemen that it has found no causal link between its vaccine and the development of blood clots, but nonetheless indicate it will "proactively delay" its rollout in Europe.

Johnson & Johnson's vaccine - which was approved by the FDA last month - had formed a key part of the government's vaccine rollout, as its single-shot regime requires standard refrigeration temperatures, compared to the ultra-cold conditions required for Pfizer and Moderna's two-shot doses. 

CDC from Monday showed that nearly 190 million Americans have received at least one dose of either the Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines, with around 64 million people - the majority of them over 65 -- now considered fully vaccinated. 

Last week, however, Johnson & Johnson said it had intercepted a batch of drug substance that would have formed part of the vaccine's production, with reports suggesting as many as 15 million doses may have been affected by an error at Emergent Biosolutions  (EBS) - Get Emergent Biosolutions Inc. Report, one of Johnson & Johnson's supply-chain partners.