Mecklenburg County resuming administration of Johnson & Johnson vaccine

Demand for Johnson & Johnson vaccine

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Mecklenburg County will resume administration of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine Tuesday, April 27.

The CDC and FDA gave the green light to resume the vaccine after the U.S. paused the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine on April 13. The pause was made out of an abundance of caution after reports of six cases of a rare type of blood clot in individuals after receiving the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. The potential reaction is very rare as millions of people have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Nine additional cases were identified during the pause, resulting in 15 total cases among more than 8 million doses given. A man in his 30s is recovering after developing a blood clot two weeks after receiving his J&J shot. The 15 cases occurred in women between the ages of 18 and 59.

During the pause, medical and scientific teams at the FDA and CDC examined available data to assess the risk of this type of reaction. In a joint statement, the CDC and FDA shared the following:

  • The FDA and CDC have confidence that this vaccine is safe and effective in preventing COVID-19.
  • The FDA has determined that the available data show that the vaccine’s known and potential benefits outweigh its known and potential risks in individuals 18 years of age and older.
  • At this time, the available data suggest that the chance of this type of rare blood clot occurring is very low, but the FDA and CDC will remain vigilant in continuing to investigate this risk.
  • The Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 fact sheet for recipients has been updated to include information about the risk of this syndrome.

All North Carolina residents age 16 and older are eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations. The OVID-19 vaccine is free for everyone.

Mecklenburg County Public Health is offering walk-ins and appointments at the following locations:

Like all other COVID-19 vaccines, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine may produce temporary reactions like a sore arm and feeling tired or achy for a day or two. Mild headaches and flu-like symptoms in the first few days after vaccination can be expected. While it is extremely rare that you would have a serious adverse reaction, if you develop severe headache, backache, severe abdominal pain, new neurologic symptoms (like changes in vision, changed mental status or numbness), leg pain or swelling, shortness of breath, tiny red spots on your skin (called petechiae), or new or easy bruising within three weeks after vaccination, contact your health care provider or seek medical care.

Currently, there are approximately 132,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine available in North Carolina. The state expects to be able to order new shipments of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine this. To read the full statement from the FDA and CDC, go to www.fda.gov.

Friday, the CDC and FDA met to vote on whether to resume use of the vaccine.

Following a thorough safety review, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration have confidence that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is safe and effective in preventing COVID-19 and recommend its continued use to prevent serious illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is recommending that providers in the state resume administration of the vaccine now that the CDC and FDA have reaffirmed its safety.

Natalie Anderson is the clinical pharmacist at Dilworth Wellness and Drug. Anderson says they received about 400 doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine starting April 1. She says appointments went quickly.

“They couldn’t find J and J at most locations,” Anderson said. “They would book up, like 100 appointments, in 20 minutes. And they were pretty much all new patients to us.”

She believes there was high interest in the Johnson and Johnson vaccine because it requires just one dose. Anderson says they still have 105 doses in storage. Patients who had booked appointments for the J and J vaccine, could either switch to Moderna or wait. Anderson says about 30 people are still holding out for the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

Novant Health leaders say they too still have patients interested in Johnson and Johnson.

“I think there is still a large group of people who want Johnson and Johnson,” Novant Health Family Physician Dr. Ashely Perrott said. “So, all the organizations as far as I know are planning on restarting it, when and if it’s available.”

For those who are skeptical of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, Dr. Perrott says there is plenty of supply of Pfizer and Moderna.

“We are fortunate to have multiple choices of vaccine to help with vaccine hesitancy,” Dr. Perrot said. “So, we are still administering Moderna and Pfizer.”

Supply is now outpacing demand in many states. But Anderson and Dr. Perrott say demand for all types of vaccines are dropping.

“I feel like we are kind of capping out at the people who are wanting it,” Anderson said. “I think there is that plateau of reaching the next 20 to 25 percent of people to get them vaccinated and try to get us back to some sense of normalcy.”

“The more we can encourage our community to consider vaccination is the only way we can get back to some of the things we enjoyed that are restricted right now,” Dr. Perrott said.

SCDHEC Public Health Director Dr. Brannon Traxler said Friday she feels confident South Carolina will follow the CDC’s recommendation if Johnson and Johnson is approved for use.

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