Missouri pauses J&J COVID-19 vaccination administration

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JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri DHSS is pausing Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccine administration until further notice following the release of a joint statement by the CDC and FDA.

According to the statement, six cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot in individuals after receiving the Janssen vaccine are being reviewed by the CDC and FDA. In these cases, a type of blood clot called cerebral venous sinus thrombosis was seen in combination with low levels of blood platelets. All six cases occurred among women between the ages of 18 and 48, and symptoms appeared six to 13 days after vaccination. 

Usually, an anticoagulant drug called heparin is used to treat blood clots. In this setting, administration of heparin may be dangerous and alternative treatments need to be given.

“In an abundance of caution and as per federal guidelines, we are pausing vaccination with Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine until further notice in Missouri,” said Dr. Randall Williams, director of the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS). “We anticipate having more information shortly to make further decisions about overall vaccine distribution in light of this new development and will continue to update citizens who have been vaccinated with the J&J vaccine after the advisory committee meets at the federal level.”

The CDC will convene a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (today) Wednesday, April 14, to further review the cases and assess their potential significance. FDA will review that analysis as it also investigates the cases. 

A new standing order for this vaccine has been issued by DHSS and is effective immediately. More than 6.8 million doses of the Janssen vaccine had been administered as of April 12.

People who have received the Janssen vaccine who develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination should contact their health care provider. Patients with other clinical questions should contact their health care provider or call the COVID-19 hotline at 877-435-8411. 

Providers are asked to keep any on-hand Janssen vaccine in the appropriate storage unit and label it “quarantine-do not use” until further notice. 

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