CDC, FDA said pause of Johnson & Johnson vaccine to be ‘days to weeks,’ DeWine says

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

A halt in the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the U.S. is expected to be days to weeks, Gov. Mike DeWine said.

“The CDC and FDA say the pause of the administration of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be short,” he said. “They described it on the White House call this morning as days to weeks rather than weeks to months.”

DeWine said he was also told the pause was to help the health community recognize any adverse reactions from the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, to report any of those reactions and to manage them.

Ohio advised vaccine providers to halt the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine Tuesday morning after the FDA and CDC issued a similar recommendation due to six reports of a rare and severe blood clot out of more than 6.8 million who have received the shot.

“I see this move today as one of great transparencies of the medical process,” said Ohio Department of Health Chief Medical Office Bruce Vanderhoff. “This should be reassuring that the scientific and medical community is really on this and watching very closely to ensure that what people are receiving is, in fact, safe.”

According to a joint statement from the FDA and CDC the “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,” the statement read.

Coronavirus vaccine providers in Ohio with the Johnson & Johnson supply are being told to hold onto the vaccines and store them until further instructions about the vaccine’s use is available, DeWine said. If the temporarily pause ends in the next few weeks, the vaccines will still be able to be used.

More than 264,311 Johnson & Johnson vaccines have been administered in Ohio. The state had been directing the vaccine to colleges and universities and mass vaccination sites, including a regional site in Dayton. With the pause in using the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the state is working to reorganize its vaccine distribution.

The Dayton Convention Center will receive Pfizer vaccines to substitute for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, DeWine said. Other regional vaccine clinics will receive the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or will pause operation.

Wright State University will receive the Moderna vaccine in place of Johnson & Johnson. Miami University will pause vaccination clinics this week.

Last week Ohio started administering vaccines on college campuses in an effort to vaccinate students before summer break.

“Our goals was to try and get them vaccinated before they left campus,” DeWine said. “Some of them may now have to get this vaccination on their own, maybe off campus. It’s not exactly what we wanted, but we’ve accomplished a lot.”

Anyone who has received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the last two to three weeks should monitor themselves for headaches, changes in vision, shortness of breath, swelling or pain in their lower extremities and consistent nausea and vomiting that doesn’t go away, said City of Columbus Health Commissioner Mysheika Roberts.

Anyone with those symptoms should contact their health care provider.

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted, who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine about five weeks ago, said he had no complications or side effects.

DeWine said he’ll continue to listen to experts and follow their guidance in regards to the pandemic and vaccines.

He added that vaccines are the ticket to getting out of the coronavirus pandemic and encouraged residents to get vaccinated.

With cases and hospitalizations increasing in Ohio again, the governor said it’s “concerning” anytime the state is receiving fewer doses.

“But the bulk of vaccinations have come from the two other companies, Moderna and Pfizer,” DeWine said. “So we’re going to continue to push those out as quickly as we can. We urge people to get the vaccination, and we’ll see what the experts tell us in regard to Johnson & Johnson.”

As of Tuesday, 4,160,582 people in Ohio have received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine, and 2,705,814 people have finished the vaccination.

Ohio reported more than 2,000 daily cases of coronavirus Tuesday as the state works to prevent another wave of cases and hospitalizations.

Ohio recorded 2,340 daily cases, making it the fourth time in the last week the state reported more than 2,000 cases a day.

Over the last three weeks, the state has averaged 1,948 cases a day, according to the Ohio Department of Health.

For the second day in a row, Ohio reported its highest number of hospitalized COVID patients in the last two weeks. The state recorded 1,281 patients on Tuesday and 1,236 on Monday.

Ohio recorded 167 hospitalizations and 13 ICU admissions in the last day, bringing its pandemic totals to 54,334 and 7,562 respectively.

The state reported 90 deaths on Tuesday for a total of 18,917. Ohio updates COVID death data twice a week.

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