Local health experts weigh-in on Johnson & Johnson vaccine pause

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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Healthcare providers, such as the ones at Barney’s Pharmacy, administered more than six million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine nationwide. But that stops now so that medical experts can get to the bottom of why it is causing blood clots in some people.

“We went ahead and reached out to every store, whether we knew they carried the Johnson & Johnson or not and told them to put their supply on hold and await further instruction,” said Amanda Reddick, Pharmacist with Barney’s Pharmacy.

Reddick told NewsChannel 6 her staff is already on alert just in case customers begin to call with the latest side effects to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

“If they experience severe headache, trouble breathing or shortness of breath, severe abdominal pain or severe leg pain, we’re urging those people to contact their provider,” Reddick explaine.

She said just one vial or five doses were given to employees at the Peach Orchard Road location. And there were 30 doses given to the public at the Grovetown pharmacy.

Publix is following suit, suspending administration of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine at all of its pharmacy locations.

Augusta University’s Dr. Rodger MacArthur said the institution mainly administers Pfizer and Moderna. But gave more insight into this latest J&J vaccine pause.

Dr. Rodger MacArthur/Professor of Medicine, MCG at AU:
“The blood clots that are a special concern are the ones that seem to affect the brain.”

Johnson & Johnson released this statement:

“We are aware of an extremely rare disorder involving people with blood clots in combination with low platelets in a small number of individuals who have received our COVID-19 vaccine. The United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are reviewing data involving six reported U.S. cases out of more than 6.8 million doses administered.”

Dr. MacArthur said, “Initially, there were reports out of Europe about the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine, which is using the same technology as the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The first reports were of older individuals. Newer reports, specific to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine seem to indicating that these are occurring in younger individuals, individuals in the 20s to 40 range.”

He added that the window seems to be unclear for when people get the blood clot, but the small number of people who did report clots said it happens in the first week of getting the vaccine. The CDC will hold a meeting Wednesday to review the cases.

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