SALEM, Ore. – The Oregon Health Authority has asked all of the state’s vaccine providers to immediately stop administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, following an announcement earlier Tuesday morning from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The action is being taken out of an abundance of caution as federal officials review six cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot in women ages 18-48 after vaccination with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, OHA said.
According to information that OHA distributed to healthcare providers, roughly 6.8 million doses of the J&J vaccine have been administered to date. In these six known cases, symptoms began six to 13 days after vaccination.
The CDC has said that it will convene an advisory committee on Wednesday to review data regarding the J&J vaccine. The nationwide pause recommendation will last until the committee and the FDA have completed their reviews.
"These cases were flagged in the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS), a component of national post-licensure vaccine safety monitoring," OHA said. "People who have received the J&J vaccine who develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination should contact their health care provider."
OHA also reminded health care providers that the drug heparin, which is normally used to treat blood clots, may be dangerous when used to treat cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, the kind of blood clot seen in these six cases.
As of April 12, Oregon providers have administered 81,255 doses of the J&J vaccine. 212,100 doses of the vaccine have been delivered to sites throughout the state.
None of the known cases of the blood clot were found in Oregon, officials said later on Tuesday. The thousands of J&J doses already in-state are expected to last several weeks in refrigeration — presumably more than enough time for federal authorities to complete a review without spoilage, though it's currently unclear how long the pause will be in effect.
Officials said that Oregon's current vaccine eligibility schedule, which opens up eligibility to all Oregonians 16 and older on April 19, will not be amended.