Essentia Health, Douglas County Public Health and the Bayfield County Health Department announced Tuesday morning they will pause use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine following a recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Six reported cases of severe blood clotting in individuals who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are under review by the CDC and FDA. All six cases were in women 18-48 years old and occurred six to 13 days after vaccination. More than 6.8 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have been distributed.
Essentia said in a release the pause is not expected to impact vaccination efforts for the week with the exception of the Brainerd Lakes region. Anyone scheduled to receive a Johnson & Johnson vaccine from Essentia will be notified about rescheduling. Essentia will continue to administer Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
Douglas County Public Health has primarily administered Pfizer vaccines and will continue to hold those appointments. A small number of appointments for Johnson & Johnson vaccines have been canceled.
The Bayfield County Health Department will continue to hold two clinics this week for Pfizer vaccines. Johnson & Johnson appointments will be rescheduled.
According to a joint statement from the CDC and FDA, the severe side effects appear to be extremely rare. People who receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine who develop severe headaches, abdominal and/or leg pain, or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination should contact their health care provider.
Essentia noted in its release that this pause is not related to the effectiveness of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Anyone who has received a Johnson & Johnson vaccine does not need to be revaccinated.
St. Luke's did not have any appointments for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine scheduled.
St. Louis County Public Health vaccine appointments, which are primarily Pfizer and Moderna, are also not expected to be largely impacted by the pause in use of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.
This story was updated at 11:25 a.m. April 13 with additional information from Bayfield and St. Louis counties. It was originally posted at 10:43 a.m. April 13.