Wisconsin providers, officials pause Johnson & Johnson vaccine administration

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Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – The COVID-19 vaccination roll-out in the U.S. hits a bit of a speed bump.

The Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine was the third vaccine to be approved in the U.S. and is the only one dose option. Now it’s being put on pause.

First news at nine’s Jessica Mendoza tells us how this will affect us locally and what caused this action.

Extremely rare and out of abundance of caution are two phrases being repeated over and over by health officials in an attempt to explain the reasoning behind this “pause”.

Out of nearly seven million people who have received the vaccine, six women between the ages of 18 and 48, formed a rare disorder that causes blood clots. However, correlation to the vaccine is still being deciphered.

Multiple health providers and counties in Western Wisconsin have already confirmed they would be pausing distribution of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine until further notice.

“Our advisory committee on immunization practices is the CDC’s independent expert scientific committee on immunization matters. We are scheduling for them to convene tomorrow to review the data we have on these initial cases,” said Anne Schuchat, M.D., Principal Deputy Director, CDC.

Gundersen vaccine expert, Dr. Raj Naik says the six cases need to be studied further to make sure the clotting was in fact caused by the vaccine.

“A vast majority of the time they do not turn out to be cause and effect,” said Naik.

He says in this case, there are plausible reasons to be concerned. While that may be alarming – it shows the surveillance system is working.

“We have a system in place that’s called the vaccine adverse event reporting system that is intentionally designed to pick up the possibility of rare things that may be associated with vaccines. In fact, it’s often the reason I say vaccines are safer than many things we do in medicine because we have this robust tracking system in place.”

For those who may have already received the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. Acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock says although the occurrences are extremely rare – you should always monitor symptoms.

“For people who got the vaccine more than a month ago their risk is very low at this time for people who recently got the vaccine within the last couple weeks they should be aware of the symptoms. If you have received the vaccine and are experiencing severe headaches, abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness of pain your should contact your medical provider and seek medical treatment”

Eau Claire City County Health Director Lieske Giese says due to this pause there will be at least several hundred vaccines that will not be given within the county.

“For all people that had a J and J appointment there are plenty of vaccines available in Eau Claire county with both Moderna and Pfizer vaccines available,” Giese said.

Dr. Anthony Fauci today said the Johnson and Johnson vaccine is expected to be pulled for a matter of days or weeks before maybe returning with different recommendations. The FDA and CDC will know more after further deliberation this week.

After the Centers for Disease Control and the federal Food and Drug Administration recommended a pause in administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, Wisconsin health care officials, providers, and clinics will follow the recommendation.

The FDA and CDC will know more after further deliberation this week.

In Eau Claire Jessica Mendoza First News at Nine.

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