Central District Health supports state recommendation to temporarily pause administration of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

CENTRAL DISTRICT HEALTH — In response to today’s recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare (IDHW) to pause the use of the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) COVID-19 vaccine, Central District Health met with vaccine providers to share information and discuss potential impacts to upcoming appointments scheduled to receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

The pause in use will allow the CDC and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) to review data and assess the potential significance of an extremely rare type of blood clot that has been reported in six people who received the vaccine in the United States. The six cases occurred among women between the ages of 18 and 48, and symptoms occurred six to 13 days after vaccination.

No incidences of this response have been reported in CDH’s jurisdiction or throughout Idaho. However, anyone who has received the Johnson & Johnson brand of COVID-19 vaccine in the past three weeks should be aware of any of the following symptoms: Development of a severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath. If you develop these symptoms after having received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, you should contact your healthcare provider and seek medical treatment. As a reminder, some flu-like symptoms immediately after getting a vaccine are normal.

For those who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine more than a month ago, the risk is considered very low at this time.

As of April 12, more than 6.8 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine have been administered in the U.S. According to IDHW, 30,673 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have been administered in Idaho.

Impacts in Central District Health’s jurisdiction

Overall, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine represents just nine percent of the COVID-19 vaccine allocated to CDH’s jurisdiction to date, so the pause is not expected to dramatically slow the pace of vaccinations. Many vaccine providers have sufficient quantities of the Moderna and Pfizer brand vaccines on hand and are offering them to individuals with Johnson & Johnson appointments until next steps are determined by the FDA and CDC. Additionally, some providers are working to reallocate doses to other healthcare providers to cover upcoming Johnson & Johnson appointments.

Those with appointments to receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine today and in the coming days should anticipate a call or email from the provider they are scheduled with. The provider will offer the option to receive the two-dose brand of vaccine they have available, postpone the appointment, or reschedule it. CDH strongly encourages those with appointments to pursue getting either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine at this time. Neither of the authorized two-dose vaccines has had this same issue reported.

Allocations of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to CDH’s jurisdiction are anticipated to be consistent with recent week volumes – this week, 5,300 Moderna doses and 7,020 Pfizer doses were anticipated to arrive. To date, healthcare providers in CDH’s jurisdiction have received a total of 163,360 doses between the three authorized COVID-19 vaccine brands.

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