Idaho Health Department Says Providers Should Pause Giving J&J Vaccine
The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare is recommending vaccine providers pause administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine until the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention releases more information about six reported cases of rare blood clots in individuals who had received the immunization.
“We are monitoring it very closely until we learn more,” said Dr. Christine Hahn, an infectious disease physician and Idaho’s lead epidemiologist, in a press release sent Tuesday morning.
“If you have a scheduled appointment to get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, please work with your vaccine provider to postpone your appointment until we learn more or consider getting a different vaccine. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have not had this issue reported, and we recommend that Idahoans continue with their appointments to receive these critical vaccines.”
Six women in the U.S. between the ages of 18 and 49 are reported to have developed rare and severe blood clots after receiving the Johnson & Johnson shot. Of those six reports, one person has died and another is hospitalized in critical condition. Their symptoms occurred six to 13 days after vaccination. Federal agencies are investigating the incidents.
As of Tuesday morning, 30,673 Johnson & Johnson vaccines have been given in Idaho, and none of these rare blood clots have been reported in Idaho. More than 90% of fully vaccinated people in Idaho have received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.
It’s normal for patients to experience some flu-like symptoms immediately after getting a vaccine. People who have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine who develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination should contact their doctor immediately, IDHW said.
The CDC and the Food and Drug Administration recommended the pause Tuesday morning out of “an abundance of caution,” according to NPR, so that more and updated information can be given to health care providers about how to evaluate this rare adverse reaction.
IDHW said the Idaho Immunization Program notified Idaho providers about the recommendation Tuesday morning. A spokesperson for Central District Health said the health district is meeting with vaccine providers on Tuesday who have received and administered the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to share the latest information and to assess the impacts of upcoming scheduled appointments.
Several other states, including New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Utah and Texas, quickly made the same recommendation to pause Johnson & Johnson vaccine administration Tuesday.
Find reporter Rachel Cohen on Twitter @racheld_cohen
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