Minnesota temporarily pauses Johnson & Johnson vaccine distribution | KAALTV.com

Minnesota temporarily pauses Johnson & Johnson vaccine distribution

Mackenzie Davis
Updated: April 13, 2021 08:23 PM
Created: April 13, 2021 05:26 PM

(ABC 6 News) - Minnesota has complied with the federal pause on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, as recommended by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The pause of the one dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine was recommended early Tuesday morning after six women ages 18 to 48 in the United States reported rare blood clots six to 13 days after receiving the J & J vaccine.

One woman has died and a second woman has been hospitalized and is in critical condition.

Gov. Tim Walz says this pause is being done out of an abundance of caution and should only last a few days.

In response, the state of Minnesota has been told they will be receiving a high number of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to make up for this pause.

Only five percent of the 3.3 million doses administered in Minnesota have been J & J vaccines.

"One of the problems with these types of rare events is they're so rare, it's really hard to prove anything one way or the other," Dr. Rick Kennedy, co-director of the vaccine research group at Mayo Clinic, said.

It's hard to prove after only knowing a couple of days of looking into this if the vaccine actually caused these reported clotting issues. 

"The fact that they caught this signal with only six cases should be reassuring to people that the safety monitoring of these vaccines is happening at a very deep and comprehensive level. So the process, even though the vaccines were produced quickly, they're not cutting corners when it comes to safety," Kennedy said.

Both Mayo Clinic and Olmsted County Public Health are going to pause the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, continuing to use Pfizer and Moderna.

If you experience side effects such as a severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness of breath within three weeks of getting the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, you are advised to contact your health care provider.

"Those symptoms are not symptoms you'd normally see after you get a vaccine. They may be symptoms of a clotting issue," Kennedy said.

At both Olmsted County Public Health and Mayo Clinic, most of the doses they have received and been administering are Pfizer and Moderna.

But, this could create issues for pharmacies.

"The pharmacies that are being supplied through the federal system have been getting more of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine so it's possible they may see a little bit of a difference here," Graham Briggs, director of Olmsted County Public Health, said. 

The state of Minnesota is not aware of any cases among those who got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. By Tuesday afternoon, more than 40 states quickly paused or recommended that providers pause administration of the Johnson & Johnson dose, including Wisconsin, Iowa and Illinois.

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