WHAT IS THE CURRENT SITUATION? As of April 12, more than 6.8 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have been administered in the United States. An extremely rare blood clot has been reported as a side effect in six cases. All six cases were women between the ages of 18 and 48, and the symptoms occurred between 6 and 13 days after vaccination. Out of an abundance of caution while the CDC and FDA review the data of this side effect, Virginia and Augusta Health have ceased Johnson & Johnson vaccines until the investigation is complete.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR ME IF I HAD A JOHNSON & JOHNSON VACCINE? Right now, these cases are extremely rare. If you received a Johnson & Johnson vaccine and develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness of breath within three weeks following vaccination, contact your health care provider. If the symptoms are sudden or severe, please seek Emergency care.
IS THE VACCINE STILL EFFECTIVE? The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is still effective in prevention of COVID-19 and poor outcomes, including hospitalization and death, from COVID-19.
DO THE CLINICAL TRIALS AND MONITORING SYSTEMS WORK TO ENSURE VACCINE SAFETY? Yes. Extremely rare side effects such as this emerge only after millions of doses are given. The pause in administering vaccine, while the CDC and FDA review and assess the significance of the situation, is reassuring because it demonstrates that the systems in place to monitor vaccine safety are working. We look forward to a thorough review by the federal health officials.
SHOULD I STILL GET VACCINATED FOR COVID-19? Yes. Augusta Health will continue to vaccinate the community with the other two authorized vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna. The benefits from vaccination in preventing COVID-19 far outweigh the risks of the side effects.
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