The Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Hold

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently allowed resumption of distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine which had been temporarily stopped due to the extremely rare side effect of blood clots in women age 18-48, occurring between 6 and 13 days after vaccination. 

Nearly every medication has some side effects, or “adverse events.” For every adverse event, researchers and medical professionals assess the frequency, and this one is extremely rare. Six events occurred among close to seven million American women who have received the J&J vaccine. That means that the chances of experiencing this complication are very low.

We also assess the risk of the condition we are treating, and the risk of getting sick and even dying from COVID-19 is significantly greater that the risk of blood clots. The chance of a blood clot from the J&J vaccine is less than one in a million, and the chance of dying from COVID-19 is about one in 64. Remember that all of the available vaccines significantly reduce your risk of dying from COVID-19.

Finding these rare events and pausing distribution shows us that the surveillance system is working. We feel confident that these vaccines are being administered carefully. The CDC is educating doctors to look for this very rare complication and has released new guidelines for the J&J vaccine.

You should be very confident in the Pfizer and Moderna as well, as the same surveillance system has shown no major problems with them. If you received the J&J vaccine more than two weeks ago, you do not need to worry. If it has been less than two weeks and you experience severe headaches, leg swelling, abdominal pain or shortness of breath, contact your doctor immediately and let them know you have had the J&J vaccine.  And remember, any vaccine is better than getting COVID,

Please do not hesitate to reach out to your Women’s Health Connecticut provider with any questions or concerns.