VDH, Roanoke City Alleghany Health Districts respond to J&J vaccine pause

Pause Doses 4.13.21
Published: Apr. 13, 2021 at 6:29 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - No one in Virginia will be given a Johnson & Johnson shot for a few days, as the federal government investigates a rare side effect from the vaccine.

The CDC and FDA recommended a pause in vaccination efforts Tuesday morning after a potentially dangerous blood clot was reported in six women, days after their shots.

One of those six women was from Virginia.

According to the Virginia Health Department, the woman died in March.

The Virginia Health Department was set to administer J&J doses to 72,000 people this week. Now the department is working to reschedule those appointments, Virginia State Vaccine Coordinator Dr. Danny Avula said.

The cases under investigation happened in women between the ages of 18 and 48 with symptoms occurring 6 to 13 days after vaccination.

As of Monday, April 12, more than 6.8 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine had been administered across the country.

“The numbers are not compelling on their own but the establishment of a unique pattern certainly warrants more investigation,” Avula said.

That’s why Virginia will not be administering any J&J shots until more information is released.

“The news this morning from the FDA was really disappointing on so many levels,” Roanoke City Alleghany Health District Director Dr. Cynthia Morrow said.

Despite that disappointment, the Roanoke City Alleghany Health District said only one small vaccination clinic will be impacted, but everyone with appointments will still get a shot.

“So for us at the Roanoke City Alleghany Health Districts the impact is minimal,” Morrow said.

If you have received a J&J vaccine recently there is no major cause for concern because these reported reactions are so rare, Morrow said.

Morrow did list the side effects to watch out for.

“If you are within the three-week period, watch out for headache, shortness of breath, leg pain, abdominal pain and certainly seek your healthcare providers advice if you have any concerns whatsoever,” she said.

This federal investigation shows there are systems in place working to protect the public, Morrow said.

“I feel very confident in our vaccine safety programs that have allowed us to distinguish these 6 individuals and prompt an investigation,” she said.

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