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Use of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine on hold for review.

Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department is following new guidance released Tuesday from Centers for Disease Control and the Food and Drug Administration to pause the use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.

These agencies took this early action out of an abundance of caution following six reports of people in the U.S. who developed a rare and severe type of blood clot after receiving the vaccine. These reports represent less than one in a million of the 6.8 million doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine given in the U.S. since the vaccine received emergency use authorization Feb. 27.

This action shows that the vaccination safety system is working to swiftly investigate the rarest of reactions in the COVID-19 vaccine effort. The pause will allow experts to review the cases and determine whether or not they are connected to the vaccine. It also ensures the healthcare provider community is aware of the potential for these adverse events.

A woman draws vaccine from a vial into a needle.

In the meantime, we’ll continue to bring COVID-19 vaccine to everyone who is eligible in Pierce County. Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department will switch to Moderna vaccine for any scheduled appointments in which Johnson & Johnson was planned. 

These adverse events appear to be extremely rare. According to state COVID-19 vaccine data, we’ve administered about 3,500 doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine in Pierce County and about 149,000 doses given in the state. State data can lag actual doses administered. The State Department of Health is not aware of any adverse cases in Washington residents.  

If you got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and develop symptoms such as severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination, you should contact your healthcare provider. 

Providers should report adverse events to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System at https://vaers.hhs.gov/reportevent.html.

Department of Health will continue to monitor the situation related to Johnson & Johnson vaccine and update on its use as the pause is reviewed and once it is lifted.

COVID-19 vaccine safety is a top priority. All reports of health problems following COVID-19 vaccination are taken very seriously. More than 189 million doses of all types of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered and 74 million are fully vaccinated for COVID-19.

Find our upcoming COVID-19 vaccination events and learn more about the vaccines at tpchd.org/vaxtothefuture.