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Michigan temporarily pausing use of Johnson & Johnson vaccine

Posted at 1:00 PM, Apr 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-13 23:51:39-04

(WXYZ) — The state health department is asking that all Michigan providers temporarily pause the administration of Johnson & Johnson vaccine based on FDA and CDC guidance.

This temporary recommendation is based on the identification of six reported U.S. cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot in individuals after receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. In these cases, a type of blood clot called cerebral venous sinus thrombosis was seen in combination with low levels of blood platelets (thrombocytopenia).

These adverse reactions appear to be extremely rare, as more than 6.8 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have been administered in the United States as of April 12, with 199,075 of those doses administered in Michigan.

The state says it is not aware of any of the six cases being in Michigan.

Vaccine providers across the state have been instructed not to administer this vaccine at this time, while the CDC and FDA review further data and assure that clinicians are identifying and reporting any potential adverse reaction.

Clinics that are scheduled to administer Johnson & Johnson vaccine will either reschedule or use a different vaccine.

“More than 6.8 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have been administered in the U.S., and these adverse events appear to be extremely rare. However, out of an abundance of caution, we are following recommendations from FDA and CDC and pausing the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in Michigan,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health, in a press release. “As we learn more about this from our federal partners, we will update vaccine providers and Michiganders across the state. We encourage everyone to continue making appointments to be vaccinated with the safe and effective Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines at this time. These vaccines are the way we are going to end this pandemic as quickly as possible and move toward a sense of normalcy.”

All six cases occurred among women between the ages of 18 and 48, and symptoms occurred six to 13 days after vaccination. Treatment of this specific type of blood clot is different from the treatment that might typically be administered. 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.

People who have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine who develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination should contact their health care provider. Health care providers are asked to report adverse events to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System at https://vaers.hhs.gov/reportevent.html.

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