From our CMO: A Letter Regarding the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine

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Letter From: Carsen Seeber, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Tri-State Family Practice & Internal Medicine

As you may have heard, in recent news, there has been updated information regarding the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) COVID-19 vaccine (Janssen). As of April 12, 2021, approximately 6.85 million doses of the J&J vaccine have been administered in the United States. There have been reports of six U.S. cases of a rare type of blood clot in individuals after receiving the J&J COVID-19 vaccine that were reported to the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting Systems (VAERS). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are reviewing data involving the U.S. cases. In these cases, a type of blood clot called cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) was seen in combination with low levels of blood platelets (thrombocytopenia).

All six cases occurred among women aged 18–48 years. The interval from vaccine receipt to symptom onset ranged from 6–13 days. The CDC will be conducting an emergency meeting of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) to further review these cases and assess potential implications on vaccine policy. The FDA will also review that analysis as it also investigates these cases. Until that process is complete, the CDC and FDA are recommending a pause in the use of the J&J COVID-19 vaccine out of an abundance of caution. 

The purpose of this message is to ensure that the community is aware of the potential for these adverse events and can provide proper management. For those who received the vaccine more than a month ago, the risk of complication is very low at this time. For those who received the vaccine within the last three weeks, the symptoms to monitor for are headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms within 6 to 13 days of receiving the J&J vaccine, please present to your local emergency department for evaluation and contact your primary care provider.

While this is very rare, six people out of 6.8 million doses given, safety is the highest priority when it comes to all COVID-19 vaccines. Continue to check Tri-State’s website for the most up to date information regarding COVID-19 vaccines. Your health is our first priority.

– Dr. Carson Seeber, Chief Medical Officer

Information above is from the Joint CDC and FDA statement on Johnson and Johnson COVID Vaccine and WA Dept of Health Health Alert.