UPDATED: WCHD Temporarily Halting Johnson & Johnsons Vaccines

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The Washtenaw County Health Department decided to follow federal advice and postpone administering the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine, Tuesday, over blood clotting concerns. The recommendation came to a surprise to the WCHD, according to spokeswoman Susan Ringler-Cerniglia.

“At this point we know this is a potential issue, not a confirm issue. The pause is really allowing [the federal authorities] to review the situation …. And make additional recommendations,” Ringler-Cerniglia said.

The WCHD’s Chelsea vaccination location at Pierce Lake Elementary will still offer the Pfizer vaccine, but its vaccinations at its Ypsilanti location at Eastern Michigan University’s Convocation Center. Both of its clinics at EMU and Concordia university will be suspended, Wednesday.
“We are stopping all use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine until we have more information on the few incidents of concern and clear recommendations for future use. This does not change the fact that [the] Covid-19 vaccination overall is safe and effective. Millions have been vaccinated,” WCHD Medical Director Juan Luis Marquez said in a press release from the county.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Food and Drug Administration, have recommended that the doses be stopped while they look into half a dozen deaths of women who had died between six and 13 days after getting the vaccination. They were all between the ages of 18 and 48, according to a joint press release from the two federal agencies.

"We are aware of an extremely rate disorder involving people with blood clots in combination with low platelets in a small number of individuals who have received our Covid-19 vaccine. The CDC and FDA re reviewing data involved in six cases reported out of more than 6.8 million doses administered," Johnson & Johnson said in a press release, Tuesday afternoon.

The CDC will be meeting with the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices Wednesday and the FDA will be reviewing the cases as well.

“Until that process is complete, we are recommending a pause in the use of this vaccine out of an abundance of caution,” the CDC & FDA said in the press release. “This is important, in part, to ensure that the health care provider community is aware of the potential for these adverse events and can plan for a proper recognition and management due to the unique treatment required with this type of blood clot.”

Michigan has vaccinated 3,346,802 people. But according to Lansing, only 199,075 of the vaccines distributed have been from Johnson & Johnson. The rest have been either from Moderna, or Pfizer.

Blood clotting worries have also plagued the AstraZeneca vaccine in Europe, which is also being investigated by the European Union and British government are looking into the reasons why. Ringler-Cerniglia said the WCHD

The WCHD is waiting to see what the results of the federal investigation into these blood clotting deaths before making a decision on whether to go through with clinics in the second half of this week.

“We should have more information hopefully by the end of the day, Wednesday,” Ringler-Cerniglia said.

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