Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Pause Continues  

Situation Report | April 19, 2021

On April 13, HCA alerted members that New York State was temporarily pausing the use of Johnson & Johnson vaccines statewide following recommendations from federal health officials who are investigating reports of blood clots.  

On April 14, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) convened a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices which determined more data was needed before deciding whether to resume use of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine and thus leaving in place a pause in its use. The Committee agreed to reconvene later this week. In remarks to the media over the weekend, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, said a decision may likely come by Friday, April 23. 

More than 6.8 million doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine have so far been administered in the U.S. Rare but severe cases of blood clotting first were reported in six instances after individuals received the vaccine, according to a joint statement from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration  (FDA). Last week, two more potential cases were identified, according to media reports. 

The first six cases occurred among women between the ages of 18 and 48, and symptoms occurred 6 to 13 days after vaccination, the CDC and FDA reported. The two additional cases, identified last week, involved a woman who received the vaccine after it was authorized, and a man who received it during a clinical trial.

“Treatment of this specific type of blood clot is different from the treatment that might typically be administered,” the CDC and FDA statement explains. “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.”  

The CDC and FDA recommended the pause “out of an abundance of caution,” said Commissioner Zucker in announcing New York’s own pause on use of the vaccine. 

“As the CDC and FDA have said, any adverse events related to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine ‘appear to be extremely rare,'” Commissioner Zucker noted, stressing that people who have received the vaccine should contact their health provider if they develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination, in accordance with federal recommendations.  

When further guidance or updates are provided, HCA will immediately report back to the membership.