Johnson & Johnson vaccine clinics canceled in Washington

Leader news staff
news@ptleader.com
Posted 12/31/69

Upcoming COVID-19 vaccination clinics across Washington state that were set to use the Johnson & Johnson vaccine were called off Tuesday after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said …

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Johnson & Johnson vaccine clinics canceled in Washington

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Upcoming COVID-19 vaccination clinics across Washington state that were set to use the Johnson & Johnson vaccine were called off Tuesday after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said use of the vaccine should be put on pause due to rare but serious side effects from the drug.

Jefferson Healthcare canceled the COVID-19 vaccination clinic for Thursday following this week's guidance from the CDC on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

The Washington State Department of Health announced a statewide halt in the use of the J&J vaccine April 13.

The state Department of Health said the pause was "taken out of an abundance of caution based on the appearance of a rare but serious side effect including serious brain blood clots" in six women under the age of 50 who had been given the J&J vaccine.

More than 6.8 million doses of the vaccine have been administered in the United States, including roughly 149,000 doses in Washington state.

State and local health officials said they would follow the CDC recommendations.

"The safety and well-being of our community are our number one priority," Jefferson Healthcare said in an announcement Tuesday after when the J&J clinic was canceled.

Jefferson Healthcare said scheduling for the Wednesday, April 21 clinic has also been paused.

People who have signed up for the April 21 clinic will keep their appointments, according to Jefferson Healthcare, as the hospital awaits further guidance from the CDC.

Jefferson Healthcare also said people scheduled for the April 15 or April 21 J&J clinics can move their appointments to the Moderna clinic planned for Friday, April 23.

"Administration of the Janssen Vaccine is being paused out of an abundance of caution as potential side-effect information is reviewed," said Jefferson County Health Officer Dr. Tom Locke said. 

"Current information suggests there may be a one-in-a-million risk of a rare blood clotting disorder similar to what has been seen with certain medications," Locke said. "Tests to detect this side-effect and treatments for it are available but it is essential that it be treated correctly as standard treatments for blood clots, like heparin, can make the condition worse."

"Once this new information has been fully reviewed, new safety guidelines will be issued," he said.

"We continue to be a race with a variant-driven fourth wave of the pandemic and we need all residents to avoid high risk behaviors until vaccines can be fully deployed," Locke added.

Federal health officials said the risk of blood clots for people who have been given the J&J vaccine more than a month ago is very low.

"Right now, these adverse events appear to be extremely rare," Dr. Anne Schuchat, Principal Deputy Director of the CDC and Dr. Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said in a statement Tuesday. 

"COVID-19 vaccine safety is a top priority for the federal government, and we take all reports of health problems following COVID-19 vaccination very seriously. People who have received the J&J vaccine who develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination should contact their health care provider," they said.

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