Michigan to Pause Johnson & Johnson Vaccines Amid Side Effect Worries

The push to get Michiganders vaccinated against COVID-19 hit a speed bump Tuesday morning when the FDA and CDC urged health care providers to pause the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine after reports of rare blood clotting issues following the vaccine shots.

“Unexpected but very rare,” said Dr. Nick Torney, infectious disease pharmacist with Munson Healthcare, “One in 1 million.”Johnson Vaccine Issues Cbs Screenshot

For many, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was the preferred method because it only requires one shot. The recommended pause will allow the FDA and CDC to investigate claims of dangerous blood clots following the vaccine.

“This was six cases identified out of 6.8 million doses given,” said Dr. Torney, “There was one death that was reported.”

This pause is expected to only last a few days. Governor Gretchen Whitmer released a statement saying the state will follow the recommendation, adding, “The safety and health of Michiganders will always come first.”

Since her statement nearly every health care system and department in the state followed suit.

“We actually, up to now, received very little of that vaccine,” said Dr. Christine Nefcy, Munson’s Chief Medical Officer, “The vast majority of what we’ve been giving has been Pfizer and Moderna.”

The Mackinac Straits Health System was en route to a Johnson & Johnson vaccine clinic on Mackinac Island when the decision came down to hold off. Plans are in the works to get those islanders one of the other two shots.

“It’s been part of the whole pandemic,” said Mike Grisdale of the Mackinac Straits Health System, “The planning and then the pivoting and rescheduling. Communication’s been very important in that.”

Already the pause has stoked fear of the safety behind the vaccine but doctors stress this is out of an abundance of caution and getting the vaccine is safer than not at all.

“Possible adverse effects of this magnitude,” said Dr. Torney, “Are lower than the risk of acquiring COVID-19 for yourself, your loved ones and for your community,”

Categories: Coronavirus, Coronavirus Support