Pima County Health Department is temporarily pausing the distribution of Johnson & Johnson vaccine on the guidance and recommendation from the CDC and Arizona Department of Health Services on Tuesday.
In a CDC statement, officials with the CDC and FDA said they are reviewing six reported U.S. cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot in individuals after receiving the J&J vaccine. According to the CDC, all six cases occurred among women between the ages of 18 and 48, and symptoms occurred 6 to 13 days after vaccination. More than 6.8 million doses of the Janssen vaccine have been administered in the U.S. as of Tuesday.
Pima County has distributed 24,600 doses of the Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine, primarily at the mobile clinics and said they have received “no reports of adverse reactions” in a statement Tuesday.
“Vaccines available today are safe and effective,” said Pima County Health Department Director, Dr. Theresa Cullen. “And although out of an abundance of caution we have paused the use of J&J, we urge unvaccinated to continue to keep getting vaccinated.”
There is a 1 in a million estimated risk of a blood clot from the Janssen vaccine, but there is a 1 in 100 overall risk of dying if you get COVID-19, said Dr. Deepta Bhattacharya, associate professor of immunobiology at the University of Arizona College of Medicine.
“Let’s say that there is a 10 percent chance that someone will catch COVID-19,” Bhattacharya said. “Then the overall risk for an unvaccinated person catching and dying from COVID-19 is about 1 in 1,000, which is about 1,000 times more likely than having a complication from the J&J vaccine.”
Pima County advises residents should immediately contact their primary care physician if they received the J&J vaccine and experienced severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination.
After the CDC announcement, the Arizona Department of Health Services announced they recommended a pause to the Janssen vaccine administration. They announced people who had appointments to receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine can schedule an appointment for the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine online at azdhs.gov/findvaccine, but indicated providers may still administer the Johnson & Johnson vaccine if “they feel it is clinically appropriate after a discussion with their patient.”
The state has received an allocation of 226,300 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, with about 122,000 administered.
The CDC offers an after-vaccination health checker program called V-safe, where those who register can tell the CDC about any side effects after getting the COVID-19 vaccine. Register through your smartphone here.