Common Questions, Helpful Responses: J&J Vaccine

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As of April 23, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommend resuming use of Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine (J&J/Janssen).  

This decision comes after a temporary pause on the J&J vaccine in order to study a few incidences of a rare type of blood clot in individuals (women between 18 and 59 ) who received the J&J vaccine. 

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What information do you have about the recent news on the J&J vaccine?

As of April 23, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommend resuming use of the J&J COVID-19 vaccine.

This decision comes after a temporary pause on the J&J vaccine in order to study a few incidences of a rare type of blood clot in individuals (women between 18 and 59 ) who received the J&J vaccine. There are only 15 known cases (as of April 27th) out of nearly 8 million doses administered. In these cases, people who had this type of blood clot also had low levels of blood platelets. 

After careful review, the CDC recommends vaccination with the J&J vaccine among people 18 years and older. However, women who are younger than 50 years of age should be aware of the rare risk of blood clots. There are other COVID-19 vaccine options available where this risk has not been seen. 

For more information, please see this CDC Update.

Is the J&J vaccine unsafe?

Nearly 8 million people have received the J&J vaccine with only 15 known cases (as of April 27th) reported of this type of rare blood clot. This adverse event is extremely rare.

Vaccine safety is a top priority. After review of all available data, the CDC and FDA have recommended restarting the J&J vaccine because the benefits that the J&J vaccine bring in keeping us and our loves ones safe, exceedingly outweigh the rare side effect. 

The recommendation to restart the J&J vaccine shows that the national vaccine monitoring system is working. Healthcare providers report adverse events to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) and individuals who have received the vaccine are encouraged to report any symptoms to V-Safe, CDC’s after vaccination health checker. This transparency from the CDC and FDA increases our confidence in this process.  

There are currently no concerns about this type of blood clot in people who have received either the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines.

What should I do if I have already received the J&J Vaccine?

It is common to experience mild to moderate flu-like symptoms, including fever, headache, fatigue and joint/muscle pain, during the first week after receiving any COVID-19 vaccine. 

However, if you received the J&J COVID-19 vaccine within the last three weeks and are experiencing severe or persistent headaches or blurred vision, chest or abdominal pain, leg swelling, easy bruising, and/or shortness of breath, please seek medical attention right away.

For everyone who has received a COVID-19 vaccine (any COVID vaccine) please sign up for V-Safe – CDC’s After Vaccination Health Checker.