Federal health officials in the United States are recommending an immediate pause in the use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine after reports of potentially dangerous blood clots.   The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration issued a joint statement early Tuesday announcing the agencies are investigating six instances of “a rare and severe blood clot” occurring in women between 18 and 48 years old within six to 13 days after receiving the one-dose vaccine.  The statement noted that more than 6.8 million doses of the vaccine have been administered in the country. The New York Times is reporting that one woman has died and another woman in the western state of Nebraska has been hospitalized in critical condition.   The CDC says it will hold an emergency meeting of its Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices on Wednesday to “to further review these cases and assess their potential significance.”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. FDA will review that analysis as it also investigates these cases.— U.S. FDA (@US_FDA) FILE – World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attends a news conference in Geneva.The World Health Organization head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Monday blamed   “confusion, complacency and inconsistency in public health measures and their application” for seven consecutive weeks of rising COVID-19 infections and four consecutive weeks of increasing numbers of deaths, after starting the year with six weeks of declining numbers. During a briefing Monday from WHO’s headquarters in Geneva, Tedros said while vaccines are a vital and powerful tool in fighting the pandemic, the standard mitigation efforts of social distancing, hygiene, masks and continued testing and tracking continue to be effective means of saving lives.  Britain reopensIn a relatively positive development, Britain announced that it is ahead of schedule of offering a first shot of COVID-19 vaccine to its older citizens on Monday. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said vaccinating all people 50 years old and older by the self-imposed deadline of April 15 means “more than 32 million people have been given the precious protection vaccines provide against COVID-19.”  People drink in the Soho area of London, on April 12, 2021, as coronavirus restrictions are eased across the country in step two of the government’s roadmap out of England’s third national lockdown.The prime minister’s triumphant statement capped the end of a three-month strict lockdown imposed across Britain in response to a wave of infections triggered by a more transmissible strain of the virus, which was discovered late last year in the southeastern county of Kent.Thousands of gyms, hair salons, retail shops and zoos reopened their doors across England, along with bars and restaurants, which are limited to just outdoor service.   Similar restrictions remain in place in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, which have their own timetables for reopening. 

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