Photo courtesy of Johnson and Johnson (jnj.com)

Photo courtesy of Johnson and Johnson (jnj.com)

Johnson & Johnson vaccine halted in Washington over side effect

Following federal guidance, Washington health care providers are temporarily pausing Johnson & Johnson shots while experts educate hospital systems on how to treat a rare side effect that may be linked to the single-dose vaccine.

Of the nearly 7 million people nationwide who have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, officials have identified six cases of brain blood clots.

“This action is being taken out of extreme caution,” said state Secretary of Health Dr. Umair Shah during a news conference. “This rarity of a side effect, one in a million, while it is serious, it has to be reminded to people that this is rare.”

On April 14, a federal vaccine advisory group will review the blood clot cases. Johnson & Johnson shots could resume in a matter of days, Shah said.

The pause, he added, gives officials time to tell doctors to avoid prescribing Heparin, a blood thinner, to treat the side effect.

In many cases, the drug is used to prevent blood clots. But in this instance, it could cause severe damage, Shah said.

For those who got the vaccine more than a month ago, the risk of this complication is very low, the state Department of Health said in a news release.

“People who have 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,” the agency said. “It also demonstrates how well the robust vaccine safety monitoring systems work, since this potential safety concern was identified quickly and vaccines were paused to allow for further investigation.”

Public Health – Seattle and King County also released a statement in response to the decision.

“The J&J vaccine provides great benefits in protecting people from serious COVID-19 infections,” said Dr. Jeff Duchin, health officer. “National vaccine safety monitoring systems have identified an association between this vaccine and a rare type of serious blood clotting disorder. This safety signal has not been identified with the mRNA vaccines made by Pfizer and Moderna. Over the coming days, we will have more information about the risk of this rare event after vaccination in relation to the benefits of vaccination, including risk related to age and gender, and whether any changes are needed in how we use the J & J vaccine.”

People who signed up will now receive a Pfizer dose, and be scheduled for a second appointment in three weeks.

Across Washington, Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine makes up about 6% of the state supply.

The pause comes two days before the state expands vaccine eligibility to everyone 16 and older.

How this will impact vaccine distribution in King County

The King County health department reports:

• Auburn high-volume vaccination site at the Auburn Outlet Mall: Anyone who currently has an appointment scheduled at the Auburn Outlet Mall vaccination site can keep their appointment and receive the Moderna vaccine instead of J&J. The Auburn site has paused scheduling new appointments.

• Kent high-volume vaccination site at ShoWare Center: Appointments at the Kent vaccination site use the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines and are not affected.

• Community partner vaccination sites: Several thousand J&J doses were distributed to community partners by Public Health this week. Public Health has contacted them to pause administering J&J vaccines and await further information.

• City of Seattle community vaccination fixed sites: All currently scheduled appointments will remain scheduled using the Pfizer vaccine.

• Mobile vaccination: Public Health’s planned mobile vaccine visits to homeless service sites and homebound individuals will use Moderna vaccine instead of J&J.

King County jails: Vaccination is currently paused.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@vashonbeachcomber.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.vashonbeachcomber.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in News

x
Vashon Emergency Operations Center COVID-19 Pandemic Situation Report

Here’s what you need to know about April 20 to April 26.

x
A Talk About Death Aims To Bring More Joy to Life

The event will explore how our lives can become richer and more meaningful if we face our mortality.

x
New Radio Series Delves Into Vietnam Era With Local Vets

The series is timed to mark the 46th anniversary of the official end of the war, on April 30, 1975.

x
Vaccination Day at Vashon High School

Approximately 80 students, ages 16 and older, were vaccinated against COVID-19 on campus this week.

x
Opal Montague, Co-Founder of Vashon Health Center, Dies at 95

One fact about her life is clear: she changed the place she lived for the better.

x
Potential COVID-19 Exposures Reported For Youth Sports, First Responders

Here’s what you need to know about April 13 to April 19.

x
Food to Fuel Is the Future at Island Biofarm

The zero-waste regenerative farm demonstrates what can be done to defend against climate change.

x
Cherry Trees at School Symbolize Friendship and Fragility

“The cherry tree represents beauty and strength, but the beauty of its blossoms is fleeting.”

x
Chef of Earthen Reimagines His Restaurant, As Diners Return

“Cooking for me is like a puzzle… I love the creativity of it.”

Most Read