The Danger of a ‘Dudes Only’ Vaccine
We still don’t know who’s most at risk of getting the Johnson & Johnson vaccine blood clots.
That idea, crude though it may be, has something to it. The demographic pattern that’s emerged is striking, and many of the experts I talked with this week told me they suspect that, if the vaccine is ultimately linked to these clots, the relationship will come with a clear-cut sex or gender difference too. (These questions are also being debated with regard to the AstraZeneca vaccine, which contains comparable ingredients and might very rarely cause a similar or identical type of clotting disorder.)
But health officials have strongly cautioned that it’s too early to tell for certain whether a specific subset of the population is at increased risk of this clotting disorder; scientists haven’t even definitively pinpointed the J&J shot as its cause. Prematurely masculinizing the J&J vaccine could not only reinforce biases that compromise health care, but also run counter to one of the most important goals of the ongoing pause: identifying what factors, if any, do contribute to these unusual clots, and protecting the people they affect.