Officials announce changes to COVID clinics after pause on J&J vaccine

Marion and Jefferson county health departments have announced they’re following the CDC recommendation to pause administration of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.

The U.S. on Tuesday recommended a “pause” in using the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to investigate reports of rare but potentially dangerous blood clots, a development that could jeopardize the rollout of vaccines around the world.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration announced that they were investigating unusual clots that occurred 6 to 13 days after vaccination.

The FDA commissioner said she expected the pause to last a matter of days.

The clots occurred in veins that drain blood from the brain and occurred together with low platelets, the fragments in blood that normally form clots.

All six cases were in women between the ages of 18 and 48. One person died, and all of the cases remain under investigation.

More than 6.8 million doses of the J&J vaccine have been given in the U.S., the vast majority with no or mild side effects.

In Marion County, a mass vaccination clinic administering the J & J shot planned for Thursday has been postponed. They will, however, continue to administer the Moderna vaccine in their office by appointment.

In Jefferson County, their health department says it will also continue to administer Moderna in its office by appointment.

The Pfizer vaccine will instead be administered Friday at a walk-in clinic at the Rolland Lewis Building that was originally scheduled to deliver J & J shots.

The clinic is free and will run from 8 am-6 pm while doses are available. The clinic is open to any adult wanting to be vaccinated and is not limited to Jefferson County residents.

The Army National Guard will handle the distribution and administering of the shots. Jefferson County Health Department, the City of Mt. Vernon, Jefferson County EMA, and the Mt. Vernon Police Department are all putting on this event in a joint effort with the hospital to reach individuals in the local communities where they reside.

If you’ve received the J&J vaccine and develop a severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath within three weeks of your vaccination date, contact your health care provider immediately.