Johnson & Johnson vaccines embargoed

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Barry County administered 200 doses last month with no major side effects

The Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine for COVID-19 has been put on pause after people at multiple vaccination sites experienced adverse reactions.

In a joint statement Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration said they were investigating unusual clots in six women that occurred 6-13 days after vaccination. The clots occurred in veins that drain blood from the brain and occurred together with low platelets. All six cases were in women between the ages of 18 and 48.

More than 6.8 million doses of the J&J vaccine have been administered in the U.S., the vast majority with no or mild side effects.

In Barry County, Roger Brock, administrator of the Barry County Health Department, reported 200 doses were administered last month with no major side effects reported.

Lawrence County had just received a 200-dose shipment this week, but the vaccines have been embargoed by state and federal authorities until further notice.

“We were excited to get them,” said Janella Spencer, director of the Lawrence County Health Department. “While the single-shot dose from Johnson & Johnson is only 66.3 percent effective against coronavirus, a lot of people are scared, and getting a single dose was more appealing than the two-dose protocol.

“The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is 95 percent effective at preventing illness, and the Moderna vaccine was 94 percent effective at preventing serious illness. Personally, I would prefer the vaccine that is more effective.”

Spencer said 20.5 percent of Lawrence county residents have initiated vaccine protocols, meaning they have received at least one shot of the two-dose inoculation. She said 13.2 percent have completed both shots.

In Barry County, as of April 7, 23.7 percent of county residents had received at least the first of two doses. Figures for the number completed were not readily available.

However, until additional research is completed, no one will be receiving the single-dose vaccine. The FDA will convene an advisory committee today to decide what to do next.

“In an abundance of caution, and as per federal guidelines, we are pausing vaccination with Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine until further notice in Missouri,” said Dr. Randall Williams, director of the Department of Health and Senior Services. “We anticipate having more information shortly to make further decisions about overall vaccine distribution in light of this new development and will continue to update citizens who have been vaccinated with the J&J vaccine after the advisory committee meets at the federal level tomorrow.”

Other side effects of the vaccine include severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath within three weeks of receiving the shot. Those who have recently received the J&J vaccine should report any adverse symptoms to their primary health care provider.

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