CDC panel to decide on whether J&J vaccinations should resume

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A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advisory panel will meet later Friday morning to decide if Johnson and Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccinations should resume.

If use is again recommended, that could mean a boost in vaccination efforts in Minnesota, where the state is now seeing an increased spread among all ages, including children.

The CDC advisory panel is expected to make a decision before the day is over.

Health officials in Europe, in which the vaccines have been allowed to be administered again, said the benefits outweigh the risks.

"We need to make a decision quickly and I’m really hopeful that we’ll be able to use the vaccine soon," CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said.

The panel will either decline to make a decision until it has more data or resume injections immediately with a label warning of adverse reactions.

Prior to the halt, 7 million doses were administered then paused after six women developed blood clots.

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Now, health experts say it appears some Americans are hesitant to get the vaccine. For the first time since April 6, the daily average of shots in arms has fallen below 3 million doses a day.

Meanwhile, in Minnesota, state health officials announced new guidance for schools.

Starting Monday, they are urging student athletes to get tested for COVID-19 weekly. Those not involved in sports or activities are asked to be tested biweekly.

Doctors said, of the 385 COVID-19 admissions to Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis in the last year, 11 arrived just last week.

Education Minnesota, the state’s teachers union, says six school staff members have now died of COVID-19 infections linked to schools.

State health officials say the federal government could expand vaccines to kids ages 12 to 16 as early as mid-May. However, younger children may not be eligible until next year.

As for the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, the CDC advisory panel meets at 10 a.m. Friday.