Coastal Health District waiting for state guidance before resuming Johnson & Johnson vaccine

Coronavirus

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Federal health officials are resuming the Johnson & Johnson vaccine rollout after pausing distribution to study reported side effects.

The Coastal Health District (CHD) isn’t following suit just yet; officials say they’re waiting on state guidance.

According to CHD director, Dr. Lawton Davis, the complication that halted the use of the J&J vaccine is a blood clot, often found in the person’s brain. He says it almost exclusively affects women 50 years old and younger.

Although this outcome is rare, it is very serious and sometimes fatal.

In some of the cases detected, doctors have also seen the patient have unusually low platelet counts.

“The reason for pausing was to make sure the medical community was aware to screen for this,” said Davis.

“They needed to be aware that it could potentially occur and if they suspected it, to treat it appropriately,” he added.

The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) recommends that people who have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine within the past three weeks should contact their doctors if they experience severe headaches, abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness of breath.

Davis says, here in the CHD, some people have accepted the findings.

Over the weekend, the district had close to 50 no-shows at some of their vaccine clinics specifically because they weren’t offering the J&J shot.

“We don’t have any J&J clinics scheduled at the moment, but we will begin to offer it again,” said Davis.

As they await state guidance, Davis says they’re seeing more and more people who got the Moderna or Pfizer shot not showing up for their second appointment.

He says because a vaccine only stays viable for six hours after it’s inserted in a vial, employees are sometimes forced to throw out the shots if not enough people show up.

“In order to not waste vaccine, it really is nice to know how many people are coming,” said Davis.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says there are 15 known cases of blood clot complications.

Davis says he expects to resume J&J vaccines this week.

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