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Local providers pause Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine after FDA/CDC recommendation

City officials said they will continue to vaccinate the public instead with the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.

SAN ANTONIO — Metro Health, UT Health, WellMed and University Health are all pausing the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine until further notice. City officials said they will continue to vaccinate the public instead with the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.

The decision came Tuesday morning after FDA and CDC issued a joint recommendation to pause the use of the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine, citing concerns about possible blood clots.

“The health and safety of our residents are top priority and Metro Health will continue to monitor this situation,” said Dr. Colleen Bridger, Assistant City Manager. “The side effects reported are extremely rare and this pause is out of an abundance of caution. We still encourage people to get vaccinated as quickly as possible with either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine and the supply for both of those is increasing rapidly."

In its joint statement, the federal agencies state: 

“CDC and FDA are reviewing data involving six reported U.S. cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot in individuals after receiving the J&J vaccine. In these cases, a type of blood clot called cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) was seen in combination with low levels of blood platelets (thrombocytopenia). All six cases occurred among women between the ages of 18 and 48, and symptoms occurred 6 to 13 days after vaccination.”

“Right now, these adverse events appear to be extremely rare. COVID-19 vaccine safety is a top priority for the federal government, and we take all reports of health problems following COVID-19 vaccination very seriously. 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.”

A total of 45,800 doses of J&J vaccines have been allocated to Bexar County since March 8. An estimated 25,512 Bexar County residents have been given the J&J vaccine compared to more than 600,000 people in Bexar County who have received either Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. Metro Health said it received a total of 7,000 doses of the J&J vaccine (6,000 last week and 1,000 this week) and currently has 2,332 doses remaining.

Medical providers should report any adverse reactions to all vaccines through the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System.

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