S.C. immediately pauses use of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine

S.C. immediately pauses use of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine
South Carolina health leaders are immediately pausing the use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine after a recommendation from the CDC and the FDA over blood clot issues. (Source: Cheryl Gerber)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WBTV) - South Carolina health leaders are immediately pausing the use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine after a recommendation from the CDC and the FDA over blood clot issues.

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) released a statement concerning Tuesday morning’s federal announcement about the Janssen vaccine, also referred to as the Johnson & Johnson vaccine:

South Carolina public health officials received word that the CDC and FDA have recommended immediately pausing use of the Janssen vaccine due to concerns with blood clotting.

“Our top priority is protecting the health and safety of the public. This pause is evidence of very close safety monitoring as part of the strict quality assurance that is in place to ensure patient safety,” the press release read.

DHEC has placed an immediate pause on our Janssen distribution and has contacted providers to alert them of this new development. In addition, health leaders say they are currently in the process of rescheduling or changing planned vaccine types for events that were going to use Janssen.

“We recognize that this will impact our current supply of vaccines across the state and are awaiting to hear more information from the federal government,” the press release read.

South Carolina, like most states, had been receiving a small amount of Janssen vaccine from the federal government — about 7,000 doses a week — compared to the more than 40,000 doses each of Pfizer and Moderna the state receives each week.

“Because of this, the pause on Janssen vaccine is less of an impact in our state than we would experience if a pause occurred on Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. Millions of people in the United States have received doses of vaccines with very little side effects,” a press release read.

“Right now, these adverse events appear to be extremely rare. COVID-19 vaccine safety is a top priority for the federal government, and we take all reports of health problems following COVID-19 vaccination very seriously. People who have received the J&J vaccine who develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination should contact their health care provider.”

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