COVID-19 vaccine providers in Ohio can resume use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, following the recommendation from U.S. health officials, Gov. Mike DeWine said in a news release late April 23.
The government had paused the use on the J&J vaccine for 11 days after 15 vaccine recipients developed a highly unusual kind of blood clot out of nearly 8 million people given the J&J shot. All were women, most under age 50. Three died, and seven remain hospitalized.
But ultimately, federal health officials decided that J&J's one-and-done vaccine is critical to fight the pandemic — and that the small clot risk could be handled with warnings to help younger women decide if they should use that shot or an alternative.
“Our country’s vaccine safety system has worked as designed – these extremely rare, serious blood-clotting events were reported into the CDC’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), and the vaccine distribution was paused to allow a thorough review of the facts and time to educate healthcare providers on the rare events," DeWine said in the release. "Now, a comprehensive analysis by the independent medical professionals on the ACIP has resulted in the recommendation that the benefits of Johnson & Johnson vaccine outweigh the risks, and that vaccine administration resume. The CDC and FDA have accepted those recommendations, lifting the pause on the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. Providers in Ohio are permitted to immediately resume administering Johnson & Johnson vaccines in Ohio, provided they continue to follow all guidance by the CDC and FDA.”
The Ohio Department of Health is issuing guidance to providers to ensure they have access to the latest information on the use of J&J vaccines, and that healthcare providers are aware of treatment methods for these extremely rare but potentially life-threatening cases of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome, according to the release.
According to the FDA, people who have received the J&J COVID-19 vaccine and develop shortness of breath, chest pain, leg swelling, persistent abdominal pain, neurological symptoms (including severe or persistent headaches or blurred vision), or petechiae beyond the site of vaccination should seek immediate medical care, according to the release.
Additional information on mass vaccination clinics, mobile vaccine strategies and specific sites resuming J&J are not yet available, according to the release.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.