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What those who’ve gotten the Johnson and Johnson vaccine should do

Published: Apr. 13, 2021 at 5:41 PM CDT
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FOX VALLEY, Wis. (WBAY) - The Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine is on pause as the CDC and FDA investigate a possible link between the vaccine and a specific type of blood clot.

That leaves people who’ve already gotten the shot wondering how concerned they should be.

“There’s an overabundance of caution being exercised right now,” said Winnebago County Health Officer Doug Gieryn.

Almost seven million people nationwide received the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. Of those, six cases reported abnormal blood clotting.

“This is a situation that’s so rare that it isn’t picked up in the trials,” said Gieryn “I mean, really less than one in a million people have had a reaction.”

Like Gieryn, many doctors believe there’s no need to panic if you’ve received the one-dose vaccine.

“This is a very rare side effect, with any medication you can expect a small number of serious side effects, this does not appear to be outside the norm. But we’re still going to wait for guidance,” said ThedaCare Medical Director of Infectious Disease Dr. David Brooks.

“They should feel reassured that we’re talking about very rare incidents that we don’t know necessarily causally related at this point,” said Dr. Matt Anderson, Senior Medical Director of Primary Care with UW Health.

The investigation will take many factors into consideration.

“Going through and saying ‘Are these related? Are there other causes?’ Medications, other things going on about medical conditions that these individuals had and trying to make some determinations about what is likely,” said Dr. Anderson.

“We don’t really know if there’s a linkage yet, but out of an abundance of caution just holding, making sure that we take the time to investigate further,” said Gieryn. “Because it’s so rare we really have to look at a lot of data to determine if there’s really a cause for concern here.”

People who’ve gotten the Johnson and Johnson vaccine are encouraged to watch out for severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath for three weeks after vaccination.

“If they have them, and they don’t have another explanation for them, they should contact their medical provider,” said Gieryn.

People are still encouraged to get vaccinated.

“People should strongly consider to get the vaccine, especially if they have risk factors to get severe COVID,” said Dr. Brooks. “I would really recommend they consider one of the other vaccines right now and await the decision on Johnson and Johnson in your future.”

Many medical professionals hope, if anything, people will now have more confidence in the vaccination process.

“In some ways the pause reinforces the fact of just how seriously we are as a medical community taking this,” said Dr. Anderson. “So hopefully that reassures people that ‘Hey, they’re on top of it, they’re monitoring, they’re looking at these things and they want to keep me safe.’ That’s absolutely our number one priority.”

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