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CDC Advisory Panel delays decision to lift pause on J&J’s COVID-19 vaccine

Published: Apr. 16, 2021 at 4:30 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - The Centers for Disease Control Advisory Panel Wednesday delayed a decision to lift the pause on the use of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine. There have been six cases of serious blood clots linked to the vaccine, resulting in one death.

J&J officials cited a possible seventh now being investigated. And it could be discouraging some North Dakotans away from vaccines altogether.

People seem to have their minds made up about vaccines.

Those who are confident in vaccine safety say the news of J&J blood clots hasn’t changed anything.

“That’s a very, very tiny percentage,” said Bismarck resident Martin Thompson. “I think they’re okay,” said Mandan resident Tony Martin.

“There’s problems with vaccines a lot of times,” said Bismarck resident Dinah Kroh.

Department of Health employees hope the pause in administering Johnson & Johnson will increase confidence in the drug makers.

“It shows that the federal government is very transparent in putting out information when there are safety concerns about vaccines in the United States,” said Molly Howell, North Dakota Department of Health Immunization Program manager and Division of Disease Control Assistant director.

Yet, a combined 26 percent of North Dakotans say they either “probably” or “definitely” will not get vaccinated. Doctors say most people who have already received a dose of Johnson & Johnson shouldn’t be worried.

“If you’ve had the shot more than three to four weeks ago, there’s currently no evidence that you’re at an increased risk. Right now in the United States, this is really the younger women population, and it happens no later than two weeks after the event,” said Sanford Health Chief Medical Officer Chris Meeker.

Health experts say the relative risk is very low. Dr. Chris Meeker says if you take 6.8 million people who have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and compare it to the 1.8 case mortality rate of COVID-19, the vaccine could have prevented 122,400 deaths.

Health experts are encouraging anyone who has experienced side effects from a COVID-19 vaccine to use the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System at vaers.hhs.gov.

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