IDAHO — The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare (IDHW) is recommending that Idaho vaccine providers not use the Johnson & Johnson vaccine until more information is available from the CDC.
The recommendation comes after the CDC and FDA announced they are reviewing data for six reported cases of a "rare and severe" type of blood clot in women ages 18-48 who received the J&J vaccine. Nearly 7 million Americans have received a dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. In Idaho, a total of 30,673 doses have been administered as of Tuesday morning.
"So for people who have received the vaccine within the last few weeks, we understand your concerns please just be aware that we have no cases reported in Idaho," said Dr. Christine Hahn, an infectious disease physician and Idaho’s lead epidemiologist. "We think this is a very rare situation but nonetheless, we want you to be aware."
Of the six reported cases, one person has died and one person is in the hospital in critical condition. None have been reported in Idaho.
Both Central District Health and Southwest District Health announced they will follow national guidance in pausing the rollout of the single-shot vaccine in the respective jurisdictions.
Only 9% of the vaccines in CDH's jurisdiction have been the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, so the pause is not expected to significantly slow down the vaccine rollout, according to the health district. Anyone with a scheduled appointment to receive the Johnson and Johnson vaccine should expect a call or email from the provider, according to CDH.
St. Luke's announced it is pausing on offering the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. The health system only administers that specific vaccine on Thursday when it is available at St. Luke's Plaza 4 in Boise. St. Luke's says it will offer the Moderna vaccine for April 14 and those people will need to follow up in 28 days for a booster. There are open appointments in Boise and the Magic Valley for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines this week and next.
Some flu-like symptoms immediately after getting a vaccine are normal. People who received the Johnson and Johnson vaccine who develop a severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness of breath within three weeks of vaccination should contact their doctor immediately. Symptoms occurred 6 to 13 days after vaccination.
The CDC will hold an Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices on Wednesday to further review these cases and assess their potential significance. The FDA will view that analysis as it also investigates the cases.
“We are monitoring it very closely until we learn more,” said Dr. Hahn. “If you have a scheduled appointment to get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, please work with your vaccine provider to postpone your appointment until we learn more or consider getting a different vaccine. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have not had this issue reported, and we recommend that Idahoans continue with their appointments to receive these critical vaccines.”
Vaccine safety is the nation’s and Idaho’s number one priority. The CDC and FDA have recommended a pause in administering the vaccine until the information can be updated and given to healthcare providers about how to evaluate people who have been vaccinated for this possible rare adverse event, as well as how to treat it.
Health care providers are also being asked to report adverse events to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System here.