DPH pauses Johnson & Johnson vaccinations at north Georgia site


FILE – In this Feb. 11, 2021, file photo, a healthcare worker prepares to administer the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at PNC Arena in Raleigh, N.C. A new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research shows that the percentage of Americans resisting getting inoculated has shrunk in the past few months. But it’s still not enough to pull America out of the pandemic, and reach herd immunity. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File)

ATLANTA (WSAV) – Health officials have paused Johnson & Johnson vaccinations at a mass vaccination site in north Georgia.

In three other states — North Carolina, Iowa and Colorado — clinics have also halted the use of the J&J/Janssen vaccine. Reactions including dizziness, lightheadedness, feeling faint and rapid breathing were reported.

According to the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH), eight people experienced adverse reactions after being vaccinated at the Cumming Fairgrounds site on Wednesday.

One patient was evaluated at a hospital and later released; the others were monitored at the site and sent home.

DPH says the decision was made “out of an abundance of caution.”

“There is no reason to believe there is anything wrong with the vaccine itself, and other individuals who have received the J&J vaccine should not be concerned,” said DPH Commissioner Dr. Kathleen E. Toomey. “We are looking into what happened and what may have caused the reactions, including the conditions at the fairgrounds such as heat and the ability to keep the site cool.”

Officials say the individuals experienced common reactions in adults being vaccinated with any vaccine, but the number of individuals experiencing the reactions was of concern.

There were 425 J&J vaccines administered at the Cumming Fairgrounds on Wednesday.

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) spokesperson said the agency is not telling health departments to stop vaccinations but is working with state and local officials to evaluate the situation.

“COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective,” said Kristen Nordlund with the CDC. “Many people don’t have any side effects after COVID-19 vaccines, but some people will have pain or swelling at the injection site or fever, chills, or a headache. These typically don’t last long and are signs that your body is building protection.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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