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Posted on: April 13, 2021

J&J VACCINE ON PAUSE STATEWIDE

April 13, 2021
For Immediate Release 
Jefferson County Public Health
Department of Emergency Management

PORT HADLOCK—The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) announced today that because six females suffered from blood clots after receiving the J&J vaccine, “the use of the J&J vaccine will be put on hold until the state receives further recommendations from federal partners on how to move forward.” 

Jefferson County Health Officer Dr. Tom Locke said, "Administration of the Janssen Vaccine is being paused out of an abundance of caution as potential side-effect information is reviewed.  Current information suggests there may be a one in a million risk of a rare blood clotting disorder similar to what has been seen with certain medications.  Tests to detect this side-effect and treatments for it are available but it is essential that it be treated correctly as standard treatments for blood clots, like heparin, can make the condition worse.  Once this new information has been fully reviewed, new safety guidelines will be issued.  We continue to be a race with a variant-driven 4th wave of the pandemic and we need all residents to avoid high risk behaviors until vaccines can be fully deployed."

Out of over seven million J&J vaccinations given nationwide, there were just six women between the ages of 18 and 48 who experienced side effects from the vaccination. According to Federal health officials, the blood clots occurred in veins that drain blood from the brain and occurred together with low platelets. 

In a press conference Tuesday morning, April 13, Washington State’s Secretary of Health, Dr. Umair A. Shah emphasized the pause was being done out of an abundance of caution and likely wouldn’t last longer than a couple of days to a week. 

For individuals who have been vaccinated with J&J over more than one month ago the risk of this complication is very low, according to DOH. 

People who have received the J&J vaccine more recently should pay special attention to getting a severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness of breath within three weeks after getting their J&J vaccination. Here in Jefferson County, the J&J vaccine was used last Saturday, April 10 in Quilcene where 123 people were vaccinated. Should any of those side effects occur, contact your health care provider.

Both Dr. Shah and Acting State Health Officer Dr. Scott Lindquist commented about how well the monitoring system works as the safety concern was quickly identified and administration of the J&J vaccine was paused for further investigation.

Washington State DOH is looking at where the J&J vaccine was used or shipped in the state and will be contacting those providers to get information out to their respective communities. 

More information can be found at: https://www.doh.wa.gov/Newsroom/Articles/ID/2737/Statement-on-Pausing-J-J-Vaccine

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