Johnson & Johnson vaccine update
Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:
We are writing to provide an important update on the use of the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen (J&J) COVID-19 vaccine.
Earlier today and out of an abundance of caution, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced a pause in the use of the J&J COVID-19 vaccine due to the development of a rare blood clotting disorder along with low platelet counts in six patients who have received this vaccine. These patients are all females between ages 18 and 48 who presented with this complication between 6-13 days after receiving the J&J vaccine. These cases represent six patients out of more than 6 million doses of the J&J vaccine that have been administered in the United States.
At the Wexner Medical Center, we have administered a total of 1,116 doses of the J&J vaccine since early March – less than 1% of the more than 163,000 total vaccine doses we have administered since December 14. We are not aware of any similar complications for our students, faculty, staff and patients who have received the J&J vaccine. Those who received the J&J vaccine in early March should be outside the 6-13 day time frame when this complication has been reported to have occurred. The rest of our J&J vaccine patients (816) received the vaccine on Saturday, April 10.
At this time, 121 million people in the United States have been vaccinated with at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. It is important to note the type of rare blood clotting events that are being evaluated following the J&J vaccine have not been detected with either the Pfizer or Moderna two-dose vaccines.
If you received a dose of the J&J vaccine, please be aware of the following signs and symptoms of this complication. While this complication has only been reported in females, anyone who develops a severe headache, leg swelling (especially in only one leg), chest pain, or new-onset shortness of breath (either at rest or with exercise) should call 911 for very severe symptoms, the 24-hour Ohio State COVID-19 vaccine hotline at 614-688-VAXX (614-688-8299, choose option 3), or their routine health care provider.
We are also sending a MyChart message to anyone who has received a J&J vaccine at the Wexner Medical Center with guidance on symptoms to watch for and what to do if these symptoms develop.
As of early this morning, we have stopped scheduling new appointments for the J&J vaccine at the Wexner Medical Center. We do continue to have appointments available for the Pfizer vaccine. Our next doses of the J&J vaccine were not planned until Wednesday, April 14, and anyone who is currently scheduled to receive the J&J vaccine in the coming days will be contacted to either reschedule their appointment to receive the Pfizer vaccine or to cancel it.
The health, safety and well-being of our university community are our top priorities. We will await further direction from the FDA and CDC prior to beginning to offer the J&J vaccine in the future. We remain committed to vaccination – along with following the CDC’s recommendations of masking, physical distancing and handwashing – as a critical step in combating the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kristina M. Johnson, PhD
Harold L. Paz, MD
Executive Vice President and Chancellor for Health Affairs
CEO, Wexner Medical Center