County Pauses Use of Johnson & Johnson Vaccine

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County Pauses Use of Johnson & Johnson Vaccine

Per Montgomery County:

Following recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Montgomery County health officials announced today that they will pause the use of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine after six women recipients who were between 18 and 48 nationwide developed rare episodes involving blood clots within two weeks of vaccination. The decision to pause the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine comes after more the 6.8 million doses of the vaccine have been administered in the United States. The CDC and the FDA will examine possible links between the vaccine and the blood clots and determine whether the FDA should continue to authorize use of the vaccine.

“While questions remain about the rare occurrence of blood clots in some individuals who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, we are operating from an abundance of caution in pausing the use of the vaccine for our residents. To date, we have not had any reported cases to us involving Montgomery County residents,” said Dr. Travis Gayles, Montgomery County health officer. “Anyone who has received the J&J vaccine and develops a severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination should contact their health care provider. If a health care provider has a patient reporting the above symptoms following vaccination, they are asked to report these events to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System.”

The County had approximately 960 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine on hand for appointments today at the mass vaccination site in Germantown.  Those doses will be substituted with first doses of the Pfizer vaccine.  No other County-operated vaccination sites are currently using the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

“This morning’s news regarding the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is causing concern for many and it is understandable,” said Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich. “Although the cases of adverse reactions to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are extremely rare, I applaud the decision by the FDA, CDC, and MDH (Maryland Department of Health) to immediately pause the use of this vaccine as a precaution. I am one of millions who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and I have felt no side effects. Until further notice our health department will be substituting Pfizer doses for the Johnson & Johnson doses. At this point, we will continue to monitor the situation and we will keep you informed as we learn more. I encourage anyone who has received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to continue to follow developing news on this situation and follow the advice of health experts.”

The County received 7,020 doses of Pfizer this week, a decrease from last week’s delivery of 10,730 doses. If there are any additional changes to clinic schedules, the County will notify people who have appointments.

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