Minnesota Department of Health advises pause on use of Johnson & Johnson vaccine
The Minnesota Department of Health sent a message Tuesday to health care providers around the state advising they follow the federal recommendation to pause use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine while the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) review data about an extremely rare type of blood clot that has been reported in six people who received that vaccine in the United States.
As of April 12, more than 6.8 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine have been administered in the U.S. CDC and FDA are reviewing data involving a rare and severe type of blood clot that was reported in six people after receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. All six cases occurred among women between the ages of 18 and 48, and symptoms occurred 6 six to 13 days after vaccination.
“While Minnesota officials are not aware of any cases occurring among the more than 184,000 Minnesotans who have received this vaccine, Minnesotans who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine who develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination should contact their health care provider,” said the press release.
CDC will convene a meeting of its Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) on Wednesday, April 14, 2021, to further review these cases and assess their potential significance. FDA will review that analysis as it also investigates the cases. Meanwhile, Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm said that until that process is complete, Minnesota health officials have advised a pause in the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine out of an abundance of caution.
“While this issue appears to be extremely rare, CDC and FDA are acting in a very cautious manner that underscores our commitment to vaccine safety,” Commissioner Malcolm said. “We will be closely monitoring the federal review process and use that information to help guide our efforts here in Minnesota in the days ahead.”
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine represents about 6.6% of the total supply of vaccines Minnesota has received to date, so the pause is not expected to dramatically slow the pace of vaccinations in the state. However, anyone who currently has an appointment to receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine should watch for a notification from their provider about canceling, postponing, or rescheduling the appointment. If your appointment is cancelled, you can look for other vaccination appointments through the Vaccine Locator map, local pharmacies or your health care provider. More information is available on the MDH website.