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VERIFY: Are claims in a viral video about the J&J vaccine causing rouleaux formation true?

A video going viral makes a claim about a vaccine for COVID 19 that shouldn't be believed - but many people are.

CALIFORNIA, USA — ABC10 has had viewers reach out about a video circulating online claiming that the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine causes an issue with your blood called “rouleaux formation,” which can be harmful.

QUESTION

Are the claims in this viral video about the J&J vaccine causing rouleaux formation true? 

SOURCES

  • ABC10 Medical Expert Dr. Payal Kohli ,
  • Dr. Brad Pollock with UC Davis 
  • Dr. Ishac Nazy with McMaster University.

PROCESS

Dr. Kohli explained that rouleaux formation is when red blood cells start stacking on top of each other.

"Rouleaux formation can occur in a number of different conditions including conditions like diabetes, including infection, including things that rev up the immune system and cause inflammation and a certain type of cancers," she said. 

Dr. Kohli said there’s no connection showing that the vaccines cause rouleaux formation. But even if someone did develop the issue after getting the vaccine, it’s probably a result of immune activation.

"What’s most important is: are the patients having clinical events? Are they have adverse events that suggest that those rouleaux are causing trouble? And based on all the evidence we’ve seen about the vaccine, we really haven’t seen that," Kohli said. 

Dr. Pollock said that after watching the video he immediately saw glaring signs of misinformation, which included the questionable credentials of the medical professional featured in the video and the lack of scientific credibility to their approach.

 "We’ve delivered millions of doses of vaccines in this country and done a careful follow up with people who were vaccinated. There are things that people are talking about in this video that doesn’t relate to any of that," Dr. Pollock said. 

As of April, 6.8 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have been administered in the U.S. In early April, the CDC and FDA reviewed data involving six reported U.S. cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot in people who got the J&J vaccine, but the CDC concluded that the vaccine is safe.

"Bleeding because of low platelet count is very very rare ," Dr. Nazy said.

ANSWER

   

This is false.

ABC10 can verify that the J&J vaccine has not been linked to adverse clinical events as a result of Rouleaux formation.

"The vaccine has not been associated with the adverse reactions causing cancer or all the other claims that are suggested in that video," Kohli said.   

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