Medical expert weighs in on the risks associated with getting the J&J vaccine

Five on 2

MORAINE, Ohio (WDTN) — The FDA and CDC have recommended that the U.S. pause the distribution of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine due to six woman developing blood clots after receiving doses.

The Janssen vaccine from J&J has been administered to roughly seven million people at this point, making the risk very small for others — however, the government is acting out of an abundance of caution.

“For anyone who has received it, number one, it’s important to know that these side effects only occurred between about six days and 13 days after the dose of the vaccine. So, if your beyond 14 days there’s really nothing to worry about,” said Dr. Jeffrey Weinstein, patient safety officer at Kettering Health Network.

For anyone who got the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, doctors say it could be weeks before you see any side effects.

“It’s understandable to me that there could be some vaccine hesitancy,” said Ohio Department of Health’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff. “I think for those who’s hesitancy is built off fear regarding safety, this should be reassuring that the scientific and medical community is really on this and watching very closely to ensure what people are receiving is in fact safe.”

The Pfizer & Moderna vaccines use MRNA technology to produce protein to develop antibodies against the virus. J&J uses a deactivated adenovirus to create the protein.

“That adenovirus is used to get that protein into our system to build antibodies against it,” said Dr. Weinstein. “That has been used for decades for creating vaccines.”

The governor says a reaction might not happen immediately, but they should look out for the most common symptoms. While the FDA has reported issues with the J&J vaccine, Dr. Weinstein says the other vaccine options are safe. 

“The two vaccines we’re using the most in the United States do not have this so it shouldn’t be something that scares people away from getting the vaccine,” said Dr. Weinstein. 

The FDA is still investigating other factors that might have led to the rare blood clot issues. Since the coronavirus vaccines have been fast tracked for emergency use, doctors say it could take awhile before we know who is at risk of a reaction.

“Little bit hard to predict I think it’s possible over the next period of time they will figure exactly what the risk factors are and why the blood clots occur, and then come out with a statement that J&J is safe as long as you don’t have x,y,z factors,” said Dr. Weinstein. “Or, it’s possible they’re going to say it’s too risky and not use the vaccine anymore, but I can’t really predict which route it’s going to go down.”

Kettering Health Network hasn’t administered Johnson and Johnson vaccines for several weeks and says Tuesday’s announcement did not impact their vaccine clinics. Governor Mike DeWine says Dayton’s Convention Center has switched to administering Pfizer doses for now.

The FDA will meet Wednesday, and could resume J&J vaccines as early as this week.

Weinstein recommends anyone who has headaches, swelling or pain in your legs, chest pain or abdominal pain or swelling — regardless of how recently they received the one-shot vaccine — to contact their health care provider.

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