Vaccine

A dose of the Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine lays out on a table, ready for administration, during the Mass Vaccination Site held by Missouri State University and the Springfield-Greene County Health Department Thursday, April 8 in Hammons Student Center. The two-day event, held Thursday and Friday, April 9, will include 10,000 Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

As of Tuesday, April 13, the Springfield-Greene County Health Department paused administration of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine until further notice, per federal recommendation. 

According to Springfield-Greene County Health Department Community Wellness Coordinator Cara Erwin during a Tuesday press conference, the local health department has paused J&J vaccine administration per recommendation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services.

Data is being reviewed after six reported U.S. cases of a rare and severe blood clot called cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) in conjunction with low levels of blood platelets in individuals after receiving the J&J vaccine, according to a joint statement from the FDA and CDC.

The six cases were reported in women ages 18 to 48 and symptoms occurred six to 13 days after the vaccination, according to the statement.

“Treatment of this specific type of blood clot is different from the treatment that might typically be administered,” the statement reads. “Usually, an anticoagulant drug called heparin is used to treat blood clots. In this setting, administration of heparin may be dangerous, and alternative treatments need to be given.”

According to the statement, more than 6.8 million J&J vaccines have been administered in the U.S.

Approximately 7,000 J&J vaccines have been administered in Greene County, with over 6,000 of those doses administered during the Mega Vaccination Site April 8 and 9 hosted by Missouri State University and the Springfield-Greene County Health Department, Erwin said.

Suzanne Shaw, Missouri State vice president of marketing and communications, said while Missouri State hosted the vaccination event, the Springfield-Greene County Health Department was in charge of it.

Questions brought to the university are being directed to the health department, Shaw said.

Greene County residents who received the J&J vaccine will receive more information via mail in the coming days, Erwin said.

“At this point, the incidents of the severe blood clots are thought to be extremely rare … 6 cases out of 6.8 million in the United States,” Dr. Nancy Yoon, chief medical officer of the Springfield-Greene County Health Department, said. “Out of an abundance of caution, it has been halted, but at this point, the risk is thought to be extremely rare.”

The CDC will call a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices on Wednesday, April 14, to further review the cases, according to the joint statement. The FDA will review the CDC’s analysis as it also investigates the cases.

Administration of the J&J vaccine will be paused until the necessary investigations are complete.

“This is important, in part, to ensure that the health care provider community is aware of the potential for these adverse events and can plan for proper recognition and management due to the unique treatment required with this type of blood clot,” the statement reads.

Johnson & Johnson issued a statement Tuesday stating they “strongly support” the open communication between healthcare professionals and the public.

“The safety and well-being of the people who use our products is our number one priority,” the statement reads.

The CDC and FDA recommend that people who have received the J&J vaccine and develop a severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness of breath within three days after vaccination to contact their health care provider.

Greene County residents with questions related to the J&J vaccine or other COVID-19 related information can contact the Springfield-Greene County Health Department COVID-19 Call Center at 417-874-1211.

 

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Editor-in-Chief

Greta Cross is the Editor-in-Chief of The Standard. She is a junior studying journalism, photography, and anthropology. Greta joined The Standard in Jan. 2019 and served as the Digital Editor for the 2019-20 school year.