North Dakota pauses Johnson & Johnson vaccine use

Published: Apr. 13, 2021 at 6:43 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - The North Dakota Department of Health held a press briefing on Tuesday afternoon to give an update on what the state is going to do with their Johnson and Johnson vaccine supply.

The state currently has 4,276 Johnson and Johnson vaccines throughout the state, but they’ll remain stored until an investigation regarding six women who suffered from severe blood clots after receiving the vaccine is resolved.

Since the CDC and the FDA declared a pause on the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, the state health department confirmed no providers administered the vaccine on Tuesday, April 13.

Although the extremely rare case of developing blood clots after receiving the vaccine could cause additional vaccine hesitancy, state health leaders said the fast response to take a pause on the vaccine rollout shows transparency.

“It shows that the federal government is very transparent in putting out information when there are safety concerns,” said State Immunization Program Manager Molly Howell.

Howell said they immediately informed providers to pause, keep the Johnson and Johnson vaccines stored in refrigerators, and sent out enough Moderna and Pfizer vaccines to cover providers for the Johnson and Johnson vaccines they can’t use right now.

Nearly 457,000 North Dakotans have received either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine compared to about 21,000 who received the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

But for those worried about severe symptoms from the vaccine, state health leaders said most people are in the clear.

“This appears to be an event that occurs within a couple weeks of a vaccination. So if it’s been more than three weeks I wouldn’t be concerned,” said Molly Howell.

If you’ve been vaccinated with Johnson and Johnson more recently, the state health department said you should monitor your symptoms.

However, only six people out of more than 6.8 million doses have struggled with severe blood clots.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will be meeting on April 14 to discuss what would need to be discovered in the investigation in order to bring the Johnson and Johnson vaccine back into circulation.

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