Johnson & Johnson Shot's Benefits Outweigh Risks: Dr. Collins

Chance of getting clots from vaccine called less likely than getting 'struck by lightning.'
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Johnson & Johnson's  (JNJ) - Get Report vaccine for COVID-19 received strong reassurances from a top health official on Sunday, days after the shot was given the green light to continue use following blood clot concerns.

"You are less likely as a woman taking J&J to have this blood-clotting problem than to get struck by lightning next year,” Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, told NBC News' "Meet the Press."

"When you consider the nature of this risk, this is truly a rare event. And when you measure that against the benefits of preventing somebody from dying of COVID, there is no comparison. We clearly have a situation where the benefits greatly outweigh the risks, even for younger women," said Collins.

His statements came two days after federal health regulators gave an OK to resume the COVID vaccine. A Center's for Disease Control and Prevention panel on Friday advised resuming use of the vaccine for all adults, following an April 13 decision to put the shots on hold following worries about blood clots forming in some patients who got the Janssen shots. Several women reported clotting and some died. 

The CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices advised a fact sheet be given out during the vaccinations so that people could understand the possible side effect.

"I do think people will want to read the fact sheet," said Collins, but said the risk of getting dangerous clots was minuscule in comparison to risks associated with even common drugs like aspirin.

Johnson & Johnson said on Friday that it will continue to collaborate with health authorities around the world "to educate health care professionals and the public to ensure this very rare event can be identified early and treated effectively.”

A separate clotting problem was flagged earlier by European and other regulators for the AstraZeneca  (AZN) - Get Report vaccine that uses similar technology. That shot is not available in the United States.

Johnson & Johnson, however, was also hit by problems with a third-party vaccine manufacturer, Emergent BioSolutions  (EBS) - Get Report, over conditions in its  factory and its botching of millions of doses of Janssen vaccines. 

Johnson closed up on the New York Stock Exchange on Friday to $165.52, lifting further after hours by $1.28 to $166.80.