~ Press release issued by Valley Health
WINCHESTER, April 13 — On Tuesday, the CDC and FDA announced an immediate pause in the distribution of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine due to concerns regarding the possibility of a very rare, but serious, side effect. As a result, Valley Health has discontinued J&J vaccine administration until further notice and is transitioning upcoming vaccination appointments to the Pfizer vaccine.
According to the federal government advisory, six of the 6.8 million adults in the U.S. who have received the J&J vaccine have reported a severe form of blood clot within two weeks after their vaccination. All six are women between the ages of 18-48.
“While this seems to be a very rare occurrence, we are grateful about how quickly it was identified and will immediately remove J&J from our vaccine toolkit until there’s been a thorough investigation,” said Jeffrey Feit, MD, Valley Health Population and Community Health Officer. “We have identified fewer than 100 women in this age group who received the J&J vaccine through Valley Health-related clinics and are reaching out to them. We have also shared information about this potential adverse effect with all our Valley Health sites of care so they are vigilant about symptoms and treatment options.”
Valley Health will honor appointments for upcoming clinics, but will administer Pfizer or Moderna, not J&J. The only important change for the community will be a return visit for a second dose within 21 to 28 days. Community members who have an upcoming appointment for the J&J vaccine will receive an updated email or phone call. Those with additional questions may email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“The early identification of this rare event reassures us of the level of vigilance around this program. It is important to remember that there has been no evidence of serious adverse effects with the other vaccines, even though many million more doses have been given,” Feit continued. “We remain confident in their safety and the knowledge that vaccinating as many people as possible, along with handwashing, mask wearing and social distancing, are still the most important steps we can take in our response to COVID-19.”
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