NDDOH recommends resumed use of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine

(Miranda O'Bryan)
Published: Apr. 26, 2021 at 6:23 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - The Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control have lifted the pause on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and the North Dakota Health Department has announced it recommends the use of the shot.

The pause was issued after reports of 15 cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot were found in women who received the J&J vaccine.

Johnson & Johnson vaccines are back on the market. While this means vaccine clinic coordinators must once again change course, administrators at Sanford Health say they’re prepared to start doling out J&J doses in the very near future.

“We are going to start administering the vaccine once we have all of the necessary documents that are updated. So, there’s an emergency use authorization document that needs to be updated to ensure that our patients are all aware of this additional event that happened,” said Sanford Health Fargo Region Senior Director of Nursing for the Health Network Melodi Krank.

Patients will now receive an updated side effects list for the vaccine before they receive it. Patients will be notified beforehand which vaccine will be used at a specific clinic so they can make the choice for themselves.

“We’ll always let the patients know what vaccine we have on hand and will be vaccinating that day,” said Krank.

The state health department has okayed the use of the vaccine for anyone over the age of 18, without any specific restrictions. Immunization Director Molly Howell says Johnson & Johnson is a valuable vaccine for certain populations.

“Having a one-dose vaccine is much more convenient than having people come back for two doses-- especially in certain populations like people that are less likely to come back. So, younger individuals, or even in homeless shelters or correctional settings,” said Howell.

When the pause was put in place, the state was set to receive about 1,400 doses of J&J. However, Johnson & Johnson represents about only 4 percent of COVID vaccine doses given out in North Dakota.

Both Sanford and state health leaders say the pause should not set the state back in vaccinations. Department of Health employees are hopeful the pause built trust and will foster more confidence in all COVID-19 vaccines.

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