Health department pauses use of Johnson & Johnson vaccine

Zero doses have been administered in Lake County

The Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine sits on a table at a pop up vaccination site at the Albanian Islamic Cultural Center, in the Staten Island borough of New York. The U.S. is recommending a "pause" in administration of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to investigate reports of potentially dangerous blood clots. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

The Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine sits on a table at a pop up vaccination site at the Albanian Islamic Cultural Center, in the Staten Island borough of New York. The U.S. is recommending a "pause" in administration of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to investigate reports of potentially dangerous blood clots. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

LAKE COUNTY — The District Health Department No. 10 is following the United States’ recommendation and paused administering the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.

In a joint statement this week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration said they were investigating unusual clots in six women that occurred 6-13 days after vaccination, the Associated Press reported.

The clots occurred in veins that drain blood from the brain and occurred together with low platelets. All six cases were in women between the ages of 18 and 48.

In response, DHD No. 10 announced Tuesday that it would pause administering additional J&J vaccines. The health department has administered a total of 111 doses of the J&J vaccine in its 10-county jurisdiction.

Of those 111 doses, none were administered in Lake County, Christy Rivette, spokesperson for the DHD No. 10, said.

“The focus of any J&J doses in the past has been people who are hard to reach more than once — so homebound, homeless/shelter clients, jails, etc.,” Rivette said. “Any planned clinic with J&J is on hold until we know more information from the CDC, FDA and ACIP.”

Doses of the J&J vaccine were administered in Mecosta, Kalkaska, Newaygo, Manistee, Oceana and Wexford counties.

Any scheduling links on the health department’s website right now are for two-dose Pfizer and/or Moderna vaccines, Rivette added.

J&J said in a statement that it was aware of the reports of blood clots, but that no link to its vaccine had been established. The company also said it is delaying the rollout of its vaccine in Europe.

The J&J vaccine received emergency use authorization from the FDA in late February with hopes that its single-dose and relatively simple storage requirements would speed vaccinations across the country.

More than 6.8 million doses of the J&J vaccine have been given in the U.S., the vast majority with no or mild side effects.

People who have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine who develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination should contact their health care provider.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.