Virginia pauses administering Johnson & Johnson vaccines

Virginia pauses administering Johnson & Johnson vaccines

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - More than 180,000 Virginians have so far received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, but the commonwealth is putting a pause on using it. Pfizer and Moderna vaccines will continue to be administered.

“We will hold off on administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in Virginia,” Virginia Vaccine Coordinator Dr. Danny Avula said.

Around 70,000 more Johnson & Johnson vaccines were scheduled to be administered the week of April 14 at 30 clinics across the commonwealth, but now that plan has changed.

“This will not impact our ability to move into Phase 2. What it will do is slow down the progress through Phase 2. We will not be able to have quite as many appointments available for first doses,” Avula said.

Avula says the main cause of concern is uncommon stroke-like symptoms.

“The CDC and FDA wanted to do a deeper dive and look at the data,” Avula said.

Roughly 6.8 million Americans have received the J&J shot. Only six cases of this blood clot disorder have emerged.

“I think it’s important to put this into context. So you have to think about the risk of getting the vaccine versus the risk of not getting the vaccine,” Dr. Taison Bell with UVA Health said. “One-in-800 Virginians have died from COVID-19. The vaccines are essentially protective against dying from COVID-19.”

If you received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and develop a severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath within three weeks after the vaccination you should contact your healthcare provider or call 911 if it is a medical emergency. If you have an upcoming appointment for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, you will be contacted to reschedule that appointment.

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