COVID-19 Vaccination Efforts Continue Despite Pause in J&J Use
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Spokane, Wash. – Following the guidance of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to pause the use of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine, Spokane Regional Health District (SRHD) is able to move forward with COVID-19 vaccination efforts, putting minimal plans on hold that were affected.
This action is being taken out of an abundance of caution based on the appearance of a rare but serious side effect including serious brain blood clots (CVST) combined with low platelet counts in six patients, all women under 50. The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) will review these cases in the days ahead and will recommend guidance going forward.
According to SRHD, the majority of vaccine coming into the county is Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech brands, allowing most vaccination efforts by providers to continue.
A total of 7,500 doses of J&J have been allocated by the state in Spokane County. Additional federal allocations of J&J are not included in this total. At this time SRHD is not aware of any adverse reactions locally. For those who received the vaccine more than a month ago, the risk of this complication is very low at this time. Only those who received the vaccine within the last three weeks should reach out to their healthcare provider if they are experiencing the following symptoms:
- Severe headache
- Abdominal pain
- Leg pain
- Shortness of breath
Some flu-like symptoms, such as tiredness, muscle pain, chills, or fever, immediately after getting a vaccine is normal.
“These adverse events appear to be extremely rare,” said Dr. Francisco Velazquez, Interim Health Officer for Spokane County. “However, vaccine safety is a top priority, and reports of health concerns need to be reviewed thoroughly.”
Velazquez explained that although some vaccination efforts where J&J was being used have been affected, the county’s allocation of Moderna and Pfizer are able to accommodate the demand as eligibility opens up to those ages 16 and over on April 15.
“Vaccination remains one of the most important actions you can take to help our community stop the spread of COVID-19,” Velazquez said. “The best vaccine is the one made available to you.”
COVID-19 vaccination locations and scheduling can be found online on the Washington State Department of Health’s Vaccine Locator or by calling (800) 525-0127, then press #. Language assistance is available.