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Health department cancels J&J clinic

Vaccine use ‘paused’ by CDC, FDA

— Daily Freeman-Journal file photo The Hamilton County Public Health Department has cancelled its Wednesday Johnson and Johnson COVID-10 vaccine clinic. That move follows a joint announcement that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration are recommending a “pause” in the vaccine’s use. The agencies are investigating six reports of a rare and severe blood clot after receiving the J&J vaccine. Those scheduled for Wednesday’s clinic will be offered appointments at the Saturday Moderna clinics, like the one pictured above.

Hamilton County Public Health has announced that its vaccine clinic scheduled for Wednesday has been canceled.

Shelby Kroona, health department administrator, made the announcement at the Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday morning.

“Out of an abundance of caution, our Johnson and Johnson vaccine clinic for April 14 will be canceled. Monday night, the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, paused the Johnson and Johnson vaccine,” she said, due to some rare and severe blood clot issues that were reported.

Kroona read a statement from the Iowa Department of Public Health.

“As of April 12, more than 6.8 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen ) vaccine have been administered in the U.S. CDC and FDA are reviewing data involving six reported U.S. cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot in individuals after receiving the J&J vaccine. All six cases occurred among women between the ages of 18 and 48, and symptoms occurred 6 to 13 days after vaccination.

“Treatment of this specific type of blood clot is different from the treatment that might typically be administered. Usually, an anticoagulant drug called heparin is used to treat blood clots. In this setting, administration of heparin may be dangerous, and alternative treatments need to be given,” the statement said.

The CDC and the FDA will review the cases to assess the potential significance, according to IDPH officials.

“Until that process is complete, we are recommending a pause in the use of the vaccine,” the statement said.

These adverse side effects appear to be extremely rare, but anyone who received the J&J vaccine who develops severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness of breath within 3 weeks after the vaccination should immediately contact their health provider, the statement said.

Kroona said other options would be made available to those who were scheduled to receive the vaccine at the Wednesday clinic.

“We will be contacting everyone who had registered to see if they would like to attend our Saturday Moderna clinic, or if they would like to wait until the FDA rules whether we can begin using the J&J and vaccine again,” she said.

The Moderna clinic will be held at Briggs Woods Conference Center. Appointments are required, Kroona said. To make an appointment for an upcoming clinic, call 832-9565.

Kroona told the board that 330 people received the J&J vaccine last week and an additional 200 were scheduled for Wednesday’s clinic.

“We have not seen any significant adverse events in Hamilton County,” she said.

As of Tuesday, 9,753 doses have been administered to Hamilton County residents. Of that number, 4,242 people are fully vaccinated, according to Kroona.

“If you look at our adult population, 18 and above, we’re at about 36 percent fully vaccinated in Hamilton County,” said Kroona. “We’re on the right path towards reaching that 70 percent vaccination rate.”

She said there continues to be random positive tests. While testing has decreased across Iowa and the nation, Kroona said her department still sees 10 to 20 new positive cases each week. The health department continues to contact trace those cases and provide education about what needs to be done to stop the transmission of the virus.

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