April 25, 2021

Why Was the Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Paused and Should I Be Worried?

The short answer from a primary care specialist

A healthcare provider holding a shot in their hands like they are going to administer a vaccine

Q: I received the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine – why was it paused and should I be worried?

A: The FDA has recommended resuming the use of the Johnson & Johnson single-dose coronavirus vaccine following a pause to review it after a small number of patients in the U.S. developed a rare blood clot disorder after receiving it.

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At the time of the pause, 8 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine had been administered in the U.S., so although the reaction was extremely rare, federal health agencies made the decision to pause the vaccine out of an abundance of caution while more research was done.

All of the cases occurred in women between the ages of 18 and 59 and symptoms occurred six to 15 days after vaccination.

These reactions appear to be extremely rare, happening to a small percentage of people out of the 8 million who received the vaccine. The federal government and medical experts reviewed and analyzed the data before providing the recommendation that’s it’s safe to resume the vaccine and that any serious side effects are rare.

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So what should you do if you already received the Johnson & Johnson shot or if you’re scheduled to?

Be on the lookout for headaches, stomach pain, leg pain or shortness of breath two to three weeks after getting the vaccine. If you’re experiencing any of these reactions, call your healthcare provider immediately.

– General pediatrician, Michelle Medina, MD.

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