Loudoun County today announced they were pausing the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine effective immediately, due to concerns that have arisen over the risk of blood clots. More than 2,800 people scheduled to receive the J&J vaccine this coming Saturday at the county’s main clinic will be switched to the Pfizer vaccine. Below is a portion of the press release from the Loudoun County Health Department.
Loudoun Pauses Use of Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine
The Loudoun County Health Department will pause its use of the single-dose Johnson and Johnson (J&J) vaccine immediately in accordance with the Virginia Department of Health’s announcement this morning.
As of this morning, approximately 2,840 people were scheduled to receive J&J vaccine at Loudoun County’s vaccination clinic on Saturday, April 17, 2021. The Health Department will replace the J&J vaccine with Pfizer vaccine for this Saturday’s clinic. All individuals who have appointments on April 17 are encouraged to keep their appointments and receive the first in a two-dose series of Pfizer vaccine. Everyone who is impacted by this unanticipated change will be contacted directly by the Health Department to be informed about the change in vaccine and to provide instructions for canceling or rescheduling their appointment should they choose to do so.
Loudoun County will continue its ongoing vaccination efforts using available supplies of Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.
Federal Government Statements on J&J Vaccine
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended a pause in the use of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine out of an abundance of caution while an Advisory Committee of Immunization Practices, which is scheduled to convene on April 14, 2021, further investigates a possible side effect of the J&J COVID-19 vaccine.
According to the CDC, as of April 12, more than 6.8 million doses of the J&J vaccine have been administered in the United States. The CDC and the FDA are reviewing data involving six reported U.S. cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot called cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) in individuals after receiving the J&J vaccine. All six cases occurred among women between the ages of 18 and 48, and symptoms occurred 6 to 13 days after vaccination.
Already Received a J&J Vaccine?
The CDC and FDA have emphasized that the possible side effect from the J&J vaccine is extremely rare. People who have already 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. Health care providers are asked to report adverse events to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System.
Anyone who has already received the J&J vaccine does not need to receive another type of vaccine. The vaccine will provide protection against COVID-19. The CDC expects to release updated guidance on the J&J vaccine as soon as possible.