BURLINGTON, Vt. – State officials announced Thursday that Vermont will follow the recommendation of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and extend the pause on the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine for an additional week. The federal pause is in place to allow the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices the time it needs to gather more data about reported side effects. The committee will meet again next week.
This means that all Vermont Johnson & Johnson appointments will be canceled through Friday, April 23. Anyone who had an appointment canceled through the state registration system should call the Health Department at 855-722-7878. The department is working hard to open as many additional appointments as possible for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines and expects everyone impacted by this pause will be able to get an appointment by the end of April.
People who made appointments with CVS or Walgreens should follow the pharmacies’ instructions about rescheduling. Anyone who prefers to make a new appointment through the state registration system can call the Health Department. Please be sure you have only one appointment scheduled.
All two-dose – Pfizer and Moderna – vaccine appointments will continue as previously scheduled.
The CDC and the Food & Drug Administration recommended the pause Tuesday, after six cases were reported in the U.S. of a rare and severe type of blood clot in individuals who had received the J&J vaccine. The pause will also allow time for healthcare providers to receive and understand guidance and information on how to recognize and treat such patients appropriately, and to report any further severe events they may be seeing in people who have received the J&J vaccine.
“We know it may be difficult to hear about more uncertainty right now, but this is science at work,” said Health Commissioner Mark Levine, M.D. “This extreme caution is being taken to make sure we have all the information needed as we move forward in our vaccination efforts safely.”
As of April 12, there have been 7.2 million individuals in the U.S. who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Six people developed a rare and severe type of blood clot called cerebral venous sinus thrombosis within about two weeks of receiving their vaccine. In these cases, the blood clot was seen in combination with low levels of blood platelets (thrombocytopenia). All six cases occurred among women between the ages of 18 and 48.
Although these side effects are extremely rare, the FDA and CDC recommend that people who have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine who develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination should contact their health care provider.
For more information, visit www.healthvermont.gov/myvaccine.