Indiana working to minimize appointment disruptions following pause in J&J vaccinations

Coronavirus

INDIANAPOLIS (WANE) — At the direction of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Indiana Department of Health announced it has temporarily paused the administration of Johnson & Johnson vaccine following an announcement about a rare adverse event from the federal organizations.

In the meantime, the state Department of Health said it is encouraging vaccination sites statewide to use existing doses of Pfizer or Moderna if available to fulfill previously scheduled Johnson & Johnson appointments. The state also has supplied the two-dose Moderna vaccine for a mass vaccination clinic at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The clinic will continue through Sunday.

The FDA and CDC issued their guidance after a type of blood clot called cerebral venous sinus thrombosis was seen in combination with low levels of blood platelets (thrombocytopenia). This has been found in only six U.S. patients who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

The department said the length of the pause is unknown. The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will meet Wednesday to review the cases and is expected to make a recommendation shortly afterward. According to the FDA, one reason for the pause is to inform healthcare providers so they can recognize and treat patients and report the conditions appropriately.

Anyone who has recently received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and has experienced flu-like systems within the first few days of vaccination are part of the body’s normal immune response to the vaccine. The department said those symptoms include pain, redness and swelling in the arm where you got the vaccine, as well as tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever and nausea.

“Anyone who develops a severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, shortness of breath or leg swelling within three weeks after receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine should contact a healthcare provider and inform the provider of the symptoms and recent COVID-19 vaccination,” the department said.

Those who have an appointment to receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will receive the Moderna vaccine until further notice. Details about second-dose appointments will be available soon. Anyone with a Johnson & Johnson appointment at another location in the next two days may call 211 to cancel their appointment and reschedule at either a Pfizer or Moderna vaccination site. The department said information regarding appointments beyond that timeframe will be provided at a later time.

The state Department of Health will provide updates when more information is available. Learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine from the Indiana Department of Health at ourshot.in.gov.

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