(Updated Apr. 30)
On April 23, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that administration of the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen (J&J) COVID-19 vaccine can resume. Read the full update from the CDC.
Previously, on April 13, 2020, the federal agencies recommended a pause in the use of this vaccine while they investigated reports of a small number of women in the U.S. who developed a rare and severe type of blood clot within the two weeks following receipt of the J&J COVID-19 vaccine. Johns Hopkins Medicine immediately paused use of the J&J vaccine. Now, based on the new CDC and FDA guidance, we will resume use of the J&J vaccine when we receive additional supplies of this vaccine.
Originally Posted April 13, 2021
Johns Hopkins Medicine has paused all use of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) COVID-19 vaccine, based on guidance from the U.S. Federal Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Here is why and what we want our employees, patients and the public to understand.
A small number of women developed rare blood clots after being vaccinated with the J&J vaccine. Out of concern for the public’s safety, The U.S. Federal Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) asked health care providers across the country to temporarily stop using the J&J vaccine until further notice.
Pausing Allows Time to Check Safety
The reported health issues are serious, but they are also very rare. The small number of cases that are being investigated out of more than 6.8 million people who have received J&J COVID-19 vaccines. The FDA and CDC are investigating to determine if there is a connection between the vaccine and the reported health issues. This information will help them decide if and when we can safely begin using the J&J vaccine again.
Know the Symptoms for Rare Reaction
The adverse events appear to be exceedingly rare, and there are still important benefits of the J&J vaccine in preventing severe COVID-19. According to the FDA and CDC, people who develop a severe headache, backache, new neurologic symptoms, severe abdominal pain, shortness of breath, leg swelling, tiny red spots on the skin (petechiae) or new or easy bruising within three weeks after vaccination should contact their health care provider or call 911 if the symptoms are severe.
Vaccination Continues with Other Vaccines
The JHM vaccination program will continue to provide both the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines to our employees who wish to be vaccinated, to eligible patients, and at our pop-up community vaccine sites. Both vaccines have been tested and found to be safe and effective in preventing severe COVID-19. Both vaccines are undergoing continuous and intense safety monitoring. To date, there is an excellent safety record reported among the millions of people who have received the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.
Future Steps with J&J Vaccine
Johns Hopkins Medicine will begin providing the J&J vaccine when federal, Maryland, Washington D.C., and Florida governments finalize review of the data and approve the safe and effective use of the J&J vaccine.