Johnson & Johnson Vaccine: Here’s What You Need To Know

Johnson & Johnson Vaccine: Here’s What You Need To Know

Many Floridians skipped the other vaccines and waited for the Johnson & Johnson, happy to be able to do it after just one dose instead of two.

But Florida is now suspending use of the J&J vaccine after it was linked to rare and dangerous blood clots.

Gov. Ron DeSantis said Florida would follow recommendations issued Tuesday by the federal government, which temporarily halted use of the vaccine at federal sites after blood clots were discovered in six women.

If it’s been more than three weeks, it should be fine, said Dr. Peter Marks, director of the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Biological Research and Evaluation. Blood clot symptoms have occurred after one week and before three weeks, he said.

These symptoms include headaches, abdominal pain, and shortness of breath.

What is a normal reaction to J&J?

According to the CDC, these reactions are typical and there is no need to worry:

  • Pain, redness, and swelling at the injection site.
  • Tiredness
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Shaking chills
  • Fever
  • Nausea

What if I have an appointment with J&J?

You can wait to see if the federal government recommends resuming J&J, or make an appointment for the injection from Moderna or Pfizer.

What if I still want this vaccine?

If your doctor has doses of J&J in the office, he can still give you the vaccine if both of you decide what is best for you.

Florida received 43,000 doses of the vaccine from the federal government then distributed it to two dozen sites across the state. But if you have an appointment at a mass vaccination site, those appointments will be put on hold.

DeSantis said he hoped the federal review of the vaccine would allow its use to resume, and said it has been a very effective weapon against the pandemic.

Why was the vaccine paused?

Six women between the ages of 18 and 48 developed blood clots in the two weeks after vaccination. One died and another remains hospitalized. Nationwide, nearly 7 million people have received the J&J vaccine, also known as Janssen, the division of J&J that developed the vaccine.

In Florida, 473,416 people have received the J&J, according to the state Department of Health. Nearly 4 million people in the state have received both doses of the other two vaccines.

CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will meet Wednesday to review blood clot cases and decide whether the J&J vaccines should continue.

What happened to the women who got the blood clots?

Clots, known as cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST), develop in the sinuses of the brain, where blood is drained. This is dangerous, but what worries doctors is that CVST is seen in combination with low levels of platelets in the blood, which is known as thrombocytopenia, a condition in which the blood will be more difficult to clot. This combination means that the usual treatment for blood clots, heparin, an anticoagulant, is potentially “dangerous.”

Didn’t this also happen in Europe?

There have been reports of rare blood clots with the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is approved for use in the European Union, but not yet in the United States. Countries stopped their programs and some are restarting them, but only for older people. For example, Italy recommends it only for people over 60, while Great Britain will offer it only for people over 30.