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Drew: What to know about Johnson & Johnson’s COVID vaccine pause

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By Samuetta Hill Drew

The U.S. Federal Government through its Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved three COVID-19 vaccines to be used for citizens in the U.S. These vaccines included Moderna, Pfizer- BioNTech and Johnson & Johnson. The first two vaccines require two doses where the latter requires only one dose.
An essential component in the United States strategy to curb the pandemic has been to provide these three approved vaccines to its citizens. This strategy hopes a high percentage of the nation’s population will become fully vaccinated. Since December 14, 2020, more than 205 million doses have been administered, fully vaccinating over 82.3 million people or 24 percent of the total U.S. population.
On April 13, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the FDA recommended a “pause” in the use of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 Vaccine. The CDC states that of the seven million doses administered so far in the United States, a small number of reports of a rare and severe type of blood clot have been reported in people after receiving the J&J COVID-19 Vaccine.
The CDC further states the reports occurred among women between the ages of 18 and 48, and symptoms occurred six to 13 days after vaccination. As of April 13, of the more than 180 million doses administered so far of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines, no reports matching those associated with the J&J vaccine have been received.
These reports of severe blood clots have caused the use of this third approved vaccine, J&J to be placed on pause. The pause is because the safety systems that make sure vaccines are safe received a small number of reports of a rare and severe type of blood clot happening in people who got this vaccine. Data needs to be collected because there is not enough yet to say if the vaccine is related to or caused this health issue.  To be extra careful, the CDC and FDA recommend that the vaccine not be given until more is learned.
If you received this vaccine, seek medical care urgently if you develop any of the following symptoms:
• severe headache,
• backache,
• new neurological symptoms,
• severe abdominal pain,
• shortness of breath,
• leg swelling,
• tiny red spots on the skin (petechiae),
• new or easy bruising
To help Keep an Eye on Safety regarding this vaccine, consult with your vaccine provider to reschedule your appointment if you were scheduled to receive the J&J vaccine. Ask to receive one of the other approved vaccines – Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech.