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April 26, 2021

Washington state resumes use of Johnson & Johnson vaccine

On Saturday, April 24, the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) announced that the state would resume use of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) COVID-19 vaccine. This decision is based on recommendations from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup.

This 11-day pause began on April 13 and was taken as a precaution after six cases of a rare but severe type of blood clot were reported following administration of the J&J vaccine. Following extensive investigation, the CDC identified a total of 15 reported cases of this rare blot clot disorder including the original six cases. All reported cases occurred in women between the ages of 18 and 59, within 6 to 15 days after vaccination. This rare disorder happens extremely infrequently; only 2 people for every 1 million doses given developed the disorder. In Washington state, over 90,000 doses of J&J were administered in the two weeks leading up to the pause, with no adverse reactions reported to date.

“This pause was a sign that the vaccine safety monitoring system is working extremely well,” said Jennifer Johnson, Skagit County Public Health Director. “It shows that the CDC is doing everything it can to ensure the safety and efficacy of the vaccines being put forth. I have confidence in all the vaccines moving forward.”  

Today, County Commissioner Ron Wesen rolled up his sleeve to receive his J&J vaccination, administered by a Skagit County Public Health nurse.

Commissioner Ron Wesen recieving his Johnson & Johnson vaccine, April 26, 2021

Commissioner Wesen said, “I am happy to get my J&J vaccine single dose. It feels good to know that I will now be fully protected from COVID-19 and I don’t need to worry about going in for a second dose.”

It is normal to have a mild to moderate reaction to vaccines. Common side effects including fever, headache, fatigue, and joint/muscle pain. If you have received the J&J vaccine in the last four weeks, please continue to monitor your symptoms for possible warning signs, include: severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, and shortness of breath.

For the CDC’s full recommendations: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/safety/JJUpdate.html

The J&J vaccine is once again available at provider locations throughout the state. To schedule an appointment for a Pfizer, Moderna, or J&J vaccine, go to https://vaccinelocator.doh.wa.gov/. To schedule a vaccine appointment at the Skagit County Fairgrounds Vaccine Clinic, go to www.skagitcounty.net/COVIDvaccine or call (360) 416-1500.