IOWA, USA — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have recommended a "pause" in administering the Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine after reports of blood clots in six women.
"With the announcement [Tuesday morning], the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) has advised that all Iowa vaccine providers pause administration of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine until more details are confirmed," IDPH said in a statement.
State public health officials said the state allocation of J&J vaccines has been temporarily suspended for the next two weeks.
IDPH said the pause "is not anticipated to dramatically slow the pace of vaccinations in the state" because the J&J shot was a relatively small percentage of the state's allocation.
If you recently received the J&J vaccine, you should monitor symptoms. Risk is very low for anyone who get the shot more than a month ago, according to CDC Principal Deputy Director Dr. Anne Schuchat.
"If you've received the vaccine and develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness of breath, you should contact your health care provider and seek medical treatment," she said on a conference call Tuesday. "Now these symptoms are different from the mild flu-like symptoms, fever and so forth, that many people experience in the couple days after receipt of the vaccine."
Dr. Peter Marks, director of FDA Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, noted that these cases have usually occurred about a week after vaccination and no later than 3 weeks after vaccination.
"These one in a million events we can't pick up until a drug or vaccine is distributed out into the public," said Dr. Patricia Winokur with University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics. "The fact that we caught these is actually telling us that our system is working."
IDPH reported it is not aware of any cases occurring among Iowans who have received the J&J vaccine.
Local 5 will provide continuous updates on hospital, clinic and county public health department's plans following this announcement. Download the We Are Iowa app or subscribe to Local 5's "5 Things to Know" email newsletter for the latest news.
Broadlawns Medical Center
Broadlawns tells Local 5 they have administered a total of 35 Johnson & Johnson vaccines since it received emergency use authorization from the FDA.
"We have 65 additional doses that we will not administer without clearance from the FDA/CDC," Broadlawns said in a statement.
Broadlawns added that the 65 additional doses were "for emergency situations."
Des Moines Are Community College
DMACC has postponed a Tuesday vaccination clinic using J&J doses in partnership with Medicap Pharmacy.
DMACC President Rob Denson sent out the following email faculty and staff:
"We are aware of the CDC and FDA recommending temporary pause of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccination due to extremely rare adverse reactions. With this, we have decided to postpone today's vaccination clinic. Those who are registered should also be contacted directly by Medicap.
While reactions from the J&J vaccination associated with this type of blood clot are extremely rare (six reported cases of 6.8M), it is important to report any of the following symptoms: severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness of breath, within three weeks after vaccination, to your health care provider, according to the statement.
Our hope is to resume the Medicap clinic next week, possibly using the Moderna vaccine.
More information will be sent about this in the coming days."
"Hy-Vee has paused administration of the J&J COVID-19 vaccine, per FDA and CDC guidance. If someone was scheduled for a J&J vaccine appointment at any of our pharmacy locations throughout our eight-state region, they have already been contacted to reschedule with either a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine."
Iowa State University
"Iowa State will not administer any J&J vaccine doses, pending further info/guidance from the CDC and FDA," ISU posted on Twitter.
A mass vaccination clinic for students was scheduled to open April 19.
"At this time, UnityPoint Health will stop using the Johnson & Johnson vaccine until we receive further guidance," the hospital and clinic system told Local 5.
"If you've received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine within the past three weeks, and develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness of breath, contact your health care provider immediately," UnityPoint Health said. "While there are a few cases of blood clots, millions have received the single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine with no serious complications."
University of Northern Iowa
"No J&J vaccine has been administered on campus," the University of Northern Iowa said in a statement. "[Tuesday] was the only day this week that the J&J vaccine was scheduled to be used. Students, faculty and staff who registered for the remaining days this week will receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine."
"Following today's recommendation from the FDA and CDC for a pause in the use of the J&J vaccine out of an abundance of caution, we are immediately suspending the administration of the J&J vaccine at our stores and off-site clinics and are awaiting further guidance. We are reaching out to patients with scheduled appointments and rescheduling vaccinations from other manufacturers, as supply allows.
We will continue to work closely with the FDA and CDC and as always, the health and safety of our patients and customers is our highest priority.
We will provide additional updates and information as they become available, and for more information on Walgreens COVID-19 vaccination efforts, please visit the Walgreens Newsroom: https://news.walgreens.com/covid-19."
"As recommended by CDC and FDA, we immediately paused administration of the J&J vaccine until the federal government completes a thorough review.
If someone has an appointment and we have a different vaccine, they will receive the one available. If not, we will cancel their appointment and rebook for a later date once supply allows."
TEGNA and The Associated Press contributed to this report