COVID Sig

The Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department announced Tuesday it will immediately pause administration of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccination due to rare and severe blood clots reported in six recipients nationwide.

No vaccination clinics or vaccination events hosted by LLCHD this week will administer the J&J vaccine, and Pfizer or Moderna vaccines will instead be administered, according to the news release from LLCHD.

The pause follows a recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration, which was announced earlier on Tuesday. The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services announced Nebraska will follow the recommendation.

All blood clot cases were reported in women between the ages 18 and 48 who developed symptoms 6-13 days after vaccination. One woman died, and a Nebraska woman in her late 40s is in critical condition, according to The New York Times.

The FDA and CDC will continue to review the adverse effects but recommend the pause “out of an abundance of caution,” according to the statement.

“Right now, these adverse events appear to be extremely rare,” the statement said. “COVID-19 vaccine safety is a top priority for the federal government, and we take all reports of health problems following COVID-19 vaccination very seriously.”

Individuals who develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination are encouraged to contact their health care providers, according to the CDC and FDA statement. Providers are asked to report the events to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System.

Clinics hosted by LLCHD this week are scheduled to vaccinate individuals 20 years and older, with some University of Nebraska-Lincoln students eligible because of a student vaccination registry released last week. Students who previously registered through LLCHD are also eligible to schedule appointments at these clinics.

The registry remains open and students can register here if interested.

A statement from the CDC and FDA states that as of Monday, April 12, more than 6.8 million doses of the J&J vaccine had been administered in the United States. 

In Lancaster County, just over 11,500 doses of the J&J vaccine had been administered through clinics or the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program. LLCHD has received no report of associated adverse effects, according to the release

While the J&J vaccine only requires one dose, Pfizer and Moderna vaccinations both require two doses — three and four weeks apart, respectively.

As the semester ends, Deb Fiddelke, UNL’s chief communication and marketing officer, said spacing Moderna vaccine doses could be difficult, which is why Pfizer would be preferred for some students.

Fiddelke said she hopes the J&J pause is only temporary, following proper review.

"We certainly hope this doesn't impact the ability of our students to be vaccinated," she said in a statement. "But it's up to the FDA and state and local health officials to determine when and how it's safe to continue the use of this vaccine."

covid@dailynebraskan.com

This is a developing story.