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Dow futures sink after US urges pause on Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine

Wall Street has been riding high as America’s vaccination program exceeded expectations, lifting prospects of a speedy economic recovery. But a potential major disruption to that campaign sent stocks in reverse Tuesday.

US stock futures fell after the United States urged a pause to the one-dose Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine.

Stock futures had previously been flat ahead of a key inflation report that assuaged Wall Street’s fears about rising prices. Investors weren’t in panic mode, but the news was certainly unwelcome on Wall Street.

Dow futures were down 68 points, or 0.2%. S&P 500 futures were flat. Nasdaq futures were 0.4% lower.

Johnson & Johnson’s stock fell 2.5% in premarket trading.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the US Food and Drug Administration are recommending that the United States halt the use of Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine over six reported US cases of a “rare and severe” type of blood clot.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine was expected to help the United States ramp up its vaccination program, as the one-dose shot leads to quicker immunization timetables. The other two vaccines in use — Pfizer and Moderna’s — are two-dose vaccines. They are not affected by Tuesday’s pause request.

The fact that two other vaccines will remain in use may have helped keep stocks from tumbling. Also, reports of blood clots after receiving the J&J shot are rare: The six reported cases were among more than 6.8 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine administered in the United States.

— CNN’s Ben Tinker contributed to this report

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