Local impact of Johnson & Johnson vaccine pause

The Indiana State Department of Health and the Tippecanoe County health Department are following the FDA and CDC's recommendations, and are also pausing use of the J&J vaccine.

Posted: Apr 13, 2021 2:33 PM
Updated: Apr 13, 2021 8:06 PM

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) - The U.S. woke up Tuesday morning to the news that the FDA and the CDC are pausing use of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, causing many state and local health departments nationwide to make a last minute pivot.

The Indiana State Department of Health and the Tippecanoe County health Department are following the FDA and CDC's recommendations, and are also pausing use of the J&J vaccine.

The federal agencies say this pause is due to a possible connection between the Johnson and Johnson vaccine and a blood clot happening in the brain. It's important to note here that there have only been six confirmed cases of blood clotting out of nearly 7 million administered doses.

The handful of cases the FDA and CDC are investigating occurred in women. They were between the ages of 18 and 48 and symptoms were seen 6 to 13 days after vaccination in the women.

The federal agencies have made it clear that the pause is purely precautionary. They are still trying to determine if there is an actual link between the blood clotting and the vaccine.

Dr. James Bien from IU Health Arnett said that COVID-19's connection to blood clots is bigger than just the vaccine.

"The COVID disease itself causes an increase in causes clotting for a greater number of people than we are seeing in this," he said. "The vaccine is incredibly safe and effective."

This pause does not impact the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines at all. The IU Health Arnett clinic is only giving out the Pfizer vaccine. The Tippecanoe County Health Department did give out Johnson and Johnson vaccines this past weekend during its drive through clinic.

Tippecanoe County Health Officer Dr. Jeremy Adler said the health department is giving out Moderna vaccines at its walk-in clinic, and that no future scheduled appointments will be impacted by this J&J pause.

Both Dr. Adler and Dr. Bien said the chances of this blood clot happening are extremely low. Dr. Bien said a big part of this pause is so that medical professionals can clarify the treatment for this specific blood clot.

"This type of clotting may require a specific kind of treatment," he said. "They want to make sure that the medical community, that physicians and hospitals are aware of this potential extremely rare side effect so that we respond appropriately."

Some symptoms to look out for in connection to this blood clot include headaches, blurred vision and pain in the legs. Contact your doctor if you start to feel any of these symptoms.

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