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VCU and VCU Health suspend use of J&J vaccine

Laboratory setting Photo: Getty Images

Updated May 3, 2021. In keeping with the recent decision by the CDC and FDA, VCU Health has lifted the temporary pause it placed on administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. We are now administering all three vaccines — Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson. For the most up-to-date information on this topic, please visit the VCU Health COVID-19 vaccine page.

As we work to end the COVID-19 pandemic, the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff and patients is our top priority. Vaccines continue to be one of our best tools in this effort, despite the recent news from the FDA about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. After the FDA and CDC recommended pausing its use until further review, VCU and VCU Health System stopped using the Johnson & Johnson vaccine immediately.

To date, only a limited number of patients have received the J&J vaccine. The new guidelines were issued after six reported U.S. cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot in individuals after receiving the J&J vaccine. More than 6 million doses of the J&J vaccine have been given in the United States.

In line with CDC guidance, if a patient who has received the J&J vaccine experiences a severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness of breath within three weeks of vaccination, they should contact their health care provider.

  • These symptoms are different from the flu-like symptoms, such as headache, that can be seen shortly after vaccination.
  • People who received the J&J vaccine more than a month ago are at very low risk of developing this adverse event.
  • Adverse effects should be reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System at https://vaers.hhs.gov/reportevent.html.

We are using our Moderna and Pfizer vaccine supply to honor any vaccination appointments scheduled. We continue to urge anyone who has not yet been vaccinated to do so as soon as possible with Moderna and Pfizer until there is more clarity about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

We are currently working on an operational plan for future vaccinations, in close partnership with the Virginia Department of Health (VDH). This is a changing situation and we will share updates as they become available. 

Our own expert explains what the blood clotting condition means in a new Q/A, “Johnson & Johnson vaccine pause: What the rare blood clotting issue means.”

For more information

For a variety of news and information on COVID-19 and how VCU Health is keeping patients safe, please visit our COVID-19 News Center

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