The FDA and CDC have called for a pause on the use of the J&J vaccine after six of the 6.8 million people who have received the vaccine experienced severe blood clots. At the recommendation of these federal health agencies, Valley Health System has stopped giving the J&J vaccine at our vaccination site. Vaccination will continue at Valley using the Pfizer vaccine, which is not a part of this safety review.
According to the CDC, FDA and New Jersey Department of Health, individuals who have received the J&J vaccine and experience abdominal pain, leg pain, shortness of breath, severe headache or other unusual symptoms within three weeks after vaccination should contact their healthcare provider.
In the six cases above, a type of blood clot called cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) was seen in combination with low levels of blood platelets (thrombocytopenia). All six cases occurred among women between the ages of 18 and 48, and symptoms occurred 6 to 13 days after vaccination. Treatment of this specific type of blood clot is different from the treatment that might typically be administered. Usually, an anticoagulant drug called heparin is used to treat blood clots. In this setting, administration of heparin may be dangerous, and alternative treatments need to be given.
Please contact your doctor if you have any questions.