Photo courtesy of Johnson and Johnson (jnj.com)

Photo courtesy of Johnson and Johnson (jnj.com)

Johnson & Johnson vaccine halted in Washington over side effect

Following federal guidance, Washington health care providers are temporarily pausing Johnson & Johnson shots while experts educate hospital systems on how to treat a rare side effect that may be linked to the single-dose vaccine.

Of the nearly 7 million people nationwide who have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, officials have identified six cases of brain blood clots.

“This action is being taken out of extreme caution,” said state Secretary of Health Dr. Umair Shah during a news conference. “This rarity of a side effect, one in a million, while it is serious, it has to be reminded to people that this is rare.”

On April 14, a federal vaccine advisory group will review the blood clot cases. Johnson & Johnson shots could resume in a matter of days, Shah said.

The pause, he added, gives officials time to tell doctors to avoid prescribing Heparin, a blood thinner, to treat the side effect.

In many cases, the drug is used to prevent blood clots. But in this instance, it could cause severe damage, Shah said.

For those who got the vaccine more than a month ago, the risk of this complication is very low, the state Department of Health said in a news release.

“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,” the agency said. “It also demonstrates how well the robust vaccine safety monitoring systems work, since this potential safety concern was identified quickly and vaccines were paused to allow for further investigation.”

Public Health – Seattle and King County also released a statement in response to the decision.

“The J&J vaccine provides great benefits in protecting people from serious COVID-19 infections,” said Dr. Jeff Duchin, health officer. “National vaccine safety monitoring systems have identified an association between this vaccine and a rare type of serious blood clotting disorder. This safety signal has not been identified with the mRNA vaccines made by Pfizer and Moderna. Over the coming days, we will have more information about the risk of this rare event after vaccination in relation to the benefits of vaccination, including risk related to age and gender, and whether any changes are needed in how we use the J & J vaccine.”

People who signed up will now receive a Pfizer dose, and be scheduled for a second appointment in three weeks.

Across Washington, Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine makes up about 6% of the state supply.

The pause comes two days before the state expands vaccine eligibility to everyone 16 and older.

How this will impact vaccine distribution in King County

The King County health department reports:

• Auburn high-volume vaccination site at the Auburn Outlet Mall: Anyone who currently has an appointment scheduled at the Auburn Outlet Mall vaccination site can keep their appointment and receive the Moderna vaccine instead of J&J. The Auburn site has paused scheduling new appointments.

• Kent high-volume vaccination site at ShoWare Center: Appointments at the Kent vaccination site use the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines and are not affected.

• Community partner vaccination sites: Several thousand J&J doses were distributed to community partners by Public Health this week. Public Health has contacted them to pause administering J&J vaccines and await further information.

• City of Seattle community vaccination fixed sites: All currently scheduled appointments will remain scheduled using the Pfizer vaccine.

• Mobile vaccination: Public Health’s planned mobile vaccine visits to homeless service sites and homebound individuals will use Moderna vaccine instead of J&J.

King County jails: Vaccination is currently paused.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@bellevuereporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.bellevuereporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in News

(Pixabay.com)
As rates of stoned drivers increase, law enforcement face challenges

WSP trooper said a THC breathalyzer would be a “game changer” for law enforcement and courts.

E. coli. Photo courtesy of the Food and Drug Administration
Seven King County children sickened with E. coli

Seven children in King County have been infected with E. coli, a… Continue reading

Sound Publishing file photo
Remi Frederick, a Village Green employee, receives her first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on Jan. 26 in Federal Way.
County health officer looks to community immunity instead of herd immunity

Herd immunity may be unlikely to reach King County anytime soon, but… Continue reading

t
Bellevue hoops teams conclude seasons

Left, Bellevue’s Ryan Brush takes a shot during a matchup against Interlake… Continue reading

Governor Jay Inslee. Sound Publishing file photo
New laws will tax the rich, offer aid to low-income workers

Inslee signs bill creating capital gains tax; foes are challenging it in court as unconstitutional.

Washington state case count since March 2020. WA Governor's Office
Pandemic pause: King County remains in Phase 3

No Washington state counties will be rolling back their phase under the… Continue reading

Courtesy of Washington Military Department
Washington gets mobile earthquake alerts

Washington state will have its own earthquake early warning system on May… Continue reading

Protesters hold a sign near PSE Mary Kipp’s house (photo credit: Neal Anderson)
Indigenous leaders and kayaktivists protest in front of the home of Puget Sound Energy CEO

Multiple groups gathered in opposition to the Tacoma LNG facility.

Photo via Pexels
King County residents needed for first respiratory study using Apple watches

UW study to help find if devices can detect early warning signs of acute respiratory infections, such as COVID-19 and flu.

Most Read