Important Update on Johnson & Johnson Vaccine

We want to make all employees aware of an update on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Out of an abundance of caution, the CDC and FDA are recommending a pause for the use of Johnson & Johnson's Covid-19 vaccine. Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee, and West Virginia have announced that they will pause the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine based on this guidance. They are taking this step because of six reported U.S. cases of a "rare and severe" type of blood clot. We want to emphasize that this step is precautionary and any risk is very small. The six reported cases are out of more than 6.8 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine administered. In other words, only one in every 1.13 million individuals receiving the vaccine experienced this reaction. All the reactions have been individuals under the age of 40.

CDC will convene a meeting on Wednesday to further review these cases and assess any potential concerns or significance. FDA will review that analysis as it also investigates these cases. .

The side effects that have occurred in these exceedingly rare cases include severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness of breath. The side effects typically occur within 14 days of receiving the vaccine. Based on this information, anyone who has received the vaccine more than 14 days ago and has not experienced any side effects should not have any concerns. If you have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and are experiencing these side effects, the CDC and FDA recommend contacting your health care provider.

Additional information:

  • While the CDC and FDA are reviewing these cases and are recommending a pause on using the J &J vaccine, we will not host additional clinics at our facilities where the J & J vaccine will be distributed.
  • Staff and clients who still need to receive the vaccine are encouraged to sign up for vaccination sites where the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine are offered until the CDC and FDA have discontinued the recommended pause on the J & J vaccine.
  • Most of the nation’s vaccine supply comes from Pfizer and Moderna, which together deliver more than 23 million doses a week of their two-shot vaccines. There have been no significant safety concerns about either of those vaccines.
  • We want to make sure you have resources to talk to someone about any questions you may have and to help alleviate any concerns.
  • Talk to your supervisor
  • Contact our EAP, Wayne Corp. at 800.441.1327. Our regional EAP Account Manager is Katherine Trentham, LCSW who can be reached at 502.451.8262 or ktrentham@waynecorp.com.
  • Contact Terry Richards terryr@voamid.org
  • Contact your healthcare provider for specific health related questions

Finally, we have consulted with Dr. Klein and he supports the decision to pause the use of the J & J vaccine while more studies are done. He emphasized that any potential risk is very minimal, with fewer than one in one-million individuals experiencing a negative reaction. He will join us soon for a Zoom meeting with staff to help answer any questions and to alleviate any concerns. We are working on setting up the call and will announce the date and time once scheduled.

Thank you for your continued commitment to the health and safety of our VOA team. We will continue to provide updated information as it becomes available. In the meantime, do not hesitate to reach out to any of the resources listed.