On Tuesday, The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) asked all of the state’s vaccine providers to immediately stop administering the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.
The pause follows the announcement from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommending states pause on administering the vaccine.
“This is out of an abundance of caution,” Columbia County Public Health Director Michael Paul said.
Federal health officials are reviewing six cases of an extremely rare and severe type of blood clot in women ages 18-48 approximately 6-13 days after vaccination of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. According to Paul, approximately seven million doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine have been administered in the U.S., and approximately 200,000 of those doses were administered in Oregon.
While other common medications like birth control can have similar side effects at higher frequencies, vaccines, especially newer ones authorized under an emergency, have higher safety requirements than other medications that have been in use for a long time.
“We’re under an emergency authorization for the vaccine,” Paul said, “The clinical trials were extensive; however, it is still a new vaccine. [The OHA is] erring on the side of caution.”
So, if you received a Johnson and Johnson vaccine in Oregon, what should you do?
First, “don’t panic,” Paul said, “But [you] should be aware if [you] received the vaccine and watch for a headache, leg pain, and shortness of breath … and seek immediate emergency care, if [you] have those types of symptoms.”