News Release: Ottawa County health officials pause the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine out of an abundance of caution

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April 13, 2021  I  News Release

Media Contact: Kristina Wieghmink, OCDPH public information officer I mobile/text 616-510-8523

Ottawa County health officials pause the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine out of an abundance of caution

The Ottawa County Department of Public Health (OCDPH) is pausing all use of the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen (J&J) COVID-19 vaccine. The FDA and CDC have recommended this pause, and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has confirmed it. The health department is stopping all use of the J&J vaccine until more is known. Individuals with appointments for the J&J vaccine are being contacted. There is no impact on the use of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.

"We have canceled all Johnson & Johnson vaccine clinics until the FDA and CDC can ensure us of vaccine safety,” said Health Officer Lisa Stefanovsky with the Ottawa County Department of Public Health. “We have notified our vaccination partners and healthcare providers to increase situational awareness. Ottawa County COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are increasing, so we encourage everyone to continue to pursue COVID-19 vaccination opportunities of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine that are still available.”

This is what we know now from the CDC and FDA:

  • As of April 12, more than 6.8 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen ) vaccine have been administered in the U.S.

  • The CDC and FDA are reviewing data involving six reported U.S. cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot in individuals after receiving the J&J vaccine.

  • All six cases occurred among women between the ages of 18 and 48, and symptoms occurred six to 13 days after vaccination.

  • Treatment of this specific type of blood clot is different from the treatment that might typically be administered. 

  • The CDC will convene a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices on Wednesday to further review these cases and assess their potential significance. FDA will review that analysis as it also investigates these cases. Until that process is complete, we are recommending a pause in the use of this vaccine out of an abundance of caution.

  • Right now, these adverse events appear to be extremely rare.

  • COVID-19 vaccine safety is a top priority for the federal, state and local government, and they take all reports of health problems following COVID-19 vaccination very seriously.

  • People who have received the J&J vaccine who develop a severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination should contact their health care provider.

Learn more: Joint Media Call - FDA & CDC Discuss Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine here

Ottawa County J&J vaccine information:

  1. How many J&J doses does OCDPH have on hand? 1,925 doses

  2. How many appointments/doses were supposed to be used that had to be canceled because of the J&J pause?
    A 1,700-dose student clinic for GVSU was planned. We had finalized plans for the remaining 225 doses for two strike teams to vaccinate a small number of people with barriers to vaccine access on Friday and next Monday but those plans are now on hold.

  3. Will that clinic shift to another vaccine?
    Not likely since most college students leave campus before we can get a second dose of Pfizer or Moderna to them.

  4. Is OCDPH able to replace these doses with Pfizer or Moderna to reschedule the J&J clinic appointments?
    Not for GVSU, but we are evaluating populations with access barriers. The need for two doses is also a challenge for these groups.

  5. When will those doses expire?
    6/21/2021 and 6/23/2021

  6. Will it be possible to store and save them until the vaccine is deemed safe by the FDA? Yes

  7. Are there any local clinics that will be impacted by the pause?
    We are not aware of any clinics, other than GVSU, that were scheduled with J&J vaccine.

COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and test positivity are high and increasing in Ottawa County and across Michigan.

Please use ALL disease prevention measures:

  • Wear a mask
  • Keep your distance
  • Wash hands often
  • Get tested
  • Follow isolation or quarantine guidance
  • Get vaccinated as soon as an appointment is available to you

More information at I I