MASON CITY, Iowa - For those who are wanting to receive the one shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine, you will likely have to wait a bit.
The CDC and FDA are recommending that the U.S. pauses the distribution and use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine due to cases of blood clots. Six cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot, one of which was fatal, are currently being studied. Both Iowa and Minnesota's public health departments have advised providers to pause administration of the vaccine.
While CG Public Health has received doses of Johnson & Johnson, Director Brian Hanft says that the department does not rely heavily on them. Most people who come in for a vaccine are receiving Moderna or Pfizer instead. The department did receive an allocation of Johnson & Johnson about 6-8 weeks ago, with the doses now being placed in refrigeration while awaiting further guidance.
"It's more, I guess it would say, shelf stable. It does need to be refrigerated, but it can be held for a much longer time, which was a benefit to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. It didn't have ultra cold holding requirements."
Even with this development, Hanft encourages those to get a vaccine when possible, as the number of cases regarding adverse effects in pharmaceuticals are typically very low.
"The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are not included in this assessment, so people should feel comfortable getting that vaccine."
Hanft says his office has not received calls regarding blood clotting issues with a vaccine. In addition, he says the cases under investigation did not come from Iowa.
Johnson & Johnson issued a statement to those who have already received the shot; those who develop a severe headache, abdominal or leg pain, or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination should contact their health care provider.
The CDC is expected to convene a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices on Wednesday to review the cases and assess their significance.