California, Contra Costa follow FDA, CDC in pausing use of Johnson & Johnson/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine

Vial of the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine. Source: CDC

SACRAMENTO – On Tuesday, April 13, 2021 the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued a statement from Dr. Erica Pan, state epidemiologist, regarding the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine.

“Today, the CDC and FDA have recommended a temporary pause in the use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine out of an abundance of caution. Of over 6.8 million doses administered nationally, there have been six reported cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot with symptoms occurring 6 to 13 days after vaccination.

“California is following the FDA and CDC’s recommendation and has directed health care providers to pause the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine until we receive further direction from health and safety experts. Additionally, the state will convene the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup to review the information provided by the federal government on this issue. As the federal government has said, we do not expect a significant impact to our vaccination allocations. In California, less than 4% of our vaccine allocation this week is the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.”

For more information about the adverse effects, and what to do if you are experiencing symptoms, please contact your healthcare provider. We will provide additional details on what this means for our state efforts as they become available.

The joint CDC and FDA statement can be found here.

In addition, the Contra Costa Health Services issued the following announcement on Tuesday about the matter, also pausing use of the J&J vaccine:

To ensure that every dose of COVID-19 vaccine provided in our county is safe for patients, Contra Costa Health Services (CCHS) will today temporarily pause its use of the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine while federal regulatory agencies examine new information about a possible, rare side effect that can cause blood clots.

CCHS is closely following guidance issued this morning by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding this vaccine. CCHS continues to administer the other vaccines approved for emergency use in the U.S., from Pfizer and Moderna.

Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine is a very small part of Contra Costa’s vaccine allocation from the state and federal governments and CCHS does not anticipate cancelling any of its vaccination appointments at this time.

Patients with vaccination appointments through CCHS should attend at their scheduled time.

CCHS is not aware of any reported cases of adverse reactions to COVID-19 vaccine in the county that were inconsistent with those documented during the extensive clinical trials conducted to ensure the safety of all vaccines used in the U.S.

The risk of an adverse reaction for people who received Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine more than a month ago is extremely low, according to the CDC.

People who received this vaccine more recently should contact a healthcare provider immediately if they develop symptoms such as severe headaches, severe abdominal pain, severe leg pain or shortness of breath – these symptoms are different than the usual, minor reactions that some people may experience in the day or two following their vaccination.

The FDA has not received any reports of similar side effects associated with the use of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.

CCHS will update the public at cchealth.org/coronavirus as more information becomes available about this developing situation.

 

 

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