For Immediate Release
April 13, 2021
Media Contact: Ben Truman │ Vermont Department of Health
802-951-5153 / 802-863-7281
BURLINGTON, VT – As state officials announced this morning, based on the recommendation of the Centers for Disease Control and the Food & Drug Administration, Vermont has paused the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine after six reports across the U.S. of an extremely rare adverse reaction to the vaccine.
This means all Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine appointments have been cancelled for today. All two-dose (Pfizer and Moderna) vaccine appointments will continue as previously scheduled. Vermonters who are scheduled for appointments through Friday can be rescheduled for a 2-dose vaccine or with Johnson & Johnson at a later date.
Of the 6.8 million individuals who have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine nationally, six people have developed a rare and severe type of blood clot called cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) within two weeks of receiving their vaccine. All six cases occurred among women between the ages of 18 and 48.
“We understand this news may be unsettling, but people should not be alarmed about overall vaccine safety, and hopefully the pause will be brief,” said Health Commissioner Mark Levine, MD. “The extreme caution being taken in this case by the CDC and FDA is entirely consistent with their and Vermont’s commitment to vaccine safety and transparency every step of the way.”
This pause was necessary to give the FDA, CDC and states time to give health care providers the information needed about the potential blood clotting symptoms to look for (severe headache, leg pain, shortness of breath) after vaccination, and of the appropriate medical treatment.
The federal government is reviewing the data over the course of the next few days and will make additional recommendations.
Although these side effects are extremely rare, the FDA and CDC recommend that people who have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the past month who develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination should contact their health care provider. These symptoms do not occur immediately after vaccination.
Vermonters looking to reschedule their vaccine appointment can also visit healthvermont.gov/myvaccine or call 855-722-7878.