Published on April 13, 2021

Essentia Health to pause Johnson & Johnson vaccines

Following a recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the United States Food and Drug Administration, Essentia Health will pause administration of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.

Six reported cases of severe blood clotting in individuals who’d recently received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are under review by the CDC and FDA. All six of those cases were in women between 18-48 years old. As of April 12, more than 6.8 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have been distributed.

According to a joint statement from the CDC and FDA: “Right now, these adverse events appear to be extremely rare. 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. People who have received the J&J vaccine who develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination should contact their health care provider.”

It’s important to note that this pause is not related to the effectiveness of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Nor does anyone who has received a Johnson & Johnson shot need to be revaccinated.

Essentia will continue to administer the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines to anyone aged 16 and older in the communities we serve. Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are a different type of vaccine and have not exhibited this rare risk in the tens of millions of doses given.

Both patients and non-patients can schedule an appointment by using our online patient portal, MyChart, or by calling (833) 494-0836.

We don’t expect this pause to significantly affect our vaccination efforts this week, with the exception being in our Brainerd Lakes region, where Johnson & Johnson vaccine comprises much of our immediate supply. We will work to reschedule all appointments for individuals who expected to receive that vaccine in the coming days.

Learn more about Essentia’s vaccine program.

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