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US recommends 'pause' for J&J vaccine over clot reports

Photo courtesy of Michael Ciaglo / Getty Images file

The U.S. is recommending a “pause” in administration of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to investigate reports of potentially dangerous blood clots.

Posted: Apr 13, 2021 8:05 AM
Updated: Apr 13, 2021 12:08 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. is recommending a “pause” in administration of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to investigate reports of potentially dangerous blood clots. In a joint statement Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration said it was investigating clots in six women in the days after vaccination, in combination with reduced platelet counts. More than 6.8 million doses of the J&J vaccine have been administered in the U.S. U.S. federal distribution channels, including mass vaccination sites, will pause the use of the J&J shot, and states and other providers are expected to follow.

Statement from Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System on J&J Distribution

Statement from Steven Gremillion, MD, FMOLHS Chief Medical Officer:

"Upon the CDC recommendations and in consultation with the Louisiana and Mississippi Departments of Health, we have immediately halted use of the J&J vaccine. FMOLHS will continue to use the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for all vaccine activities. Safety continues to be the top priority as we expand vaccine distribution to as many as possible in the fight against COVID-19."

Statement from Ochsner Lafayette General:

The FDA and CDC released new guidance recommending that healthcare providers pause the administration of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson (J&J) COVID-19 vaccine. This decision was made so that reports of a rare type of blood clot, cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, could be investigated to determine if there is a correlation between the vaccine and this medical condition. Although this side effect is exceptionally rare – only impacting six patients out of 6.8 million doses given – use of this vaccine is being paused out of an abundance of caution until more information is available.

Ochsner Health learned of this guidance this morning and has halted use of the J&J vaccine at all vaccine clinics effective immediately. Patients who were scheduled to receive J&J at an Ochsner Lafayette General vaccination site will now receive the 2-dose Pfizer vaccine. Any patients impacted by this change will be contacted directly and have the option to reschedule. The Pfizer vaccine uses messenger RNA, or mRNA, which is different from the viral vector technology used to produce the J&J vaccine.

The safety of our patients and community is our highest priority. While we have not seen any of our patients experience this type of reaction, we took immediate action upon learning of this guidance and will pause the use of J&J until further notice. We have adequate supply of Pfizer vaccines and will not need to cancel or reschedule upcoming appointments or vaccine events.

We will continue to keep our patients and community informed about this evolving situation. For the latest information, please visit www.OchsnerLG.org/Vaccine.

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