DPH on Johnson and Johnson vaccine pause


AUGUSTA, GA. (WJBF) – The CDC and FDA leaders reviewed data after six people, out of more than 6 million, developed rare blood clots after getting the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, with one person dying from complications.

Georgia’s Department of Health says, all vaccines are safe, but as a precautionary measure, they are halting the Johnson and Johnson dose in Georgia until they get the green light from the CDC and FDA.

Atlanta Bureau Chief, Archith Seshadri, talks exclusively with DPH on impacts here in the peach state.

Georgia has given 124-thousand doses of the Johnson and Johnson dose, but health experts say none of the six cases involved people in Georgia.

Dr. Kathleen Toomey said, “We don’t know even know for certain this had anything to do with the vaccine, until they look at the data, study the cases, and literally it’s one in million, with 6 million doses and 6 of these cases of unusual clotting.”

The reported cases of blood clots were women between the ages of 18 and 48.

“We have chosen in Georgia to take the pause as well. We didn’t have to, we weren’t mandated to, but we wanted to in the best interest of Georgians,” said Dr. Toomey.

Health experts say if you develop symptoms within 6 to 13 days after the Johnson and Johnson shot, you should contact your doctor.

Dr. Toomey said, “If you are within that window, and develop a headache, leg pain, shortness of breath, abdominal pain, that could be an indication of a clot. What was unusual was it was also low platelet count.

If you took the J & J shot more than a month ago, you are at low risk.

“That there may be a problem is the system working. This is good news from my perspective,” said Dr. Toomey.

Dr. Chris Rustin, Incident Manager for DPH COVID Response said, “And as we pause with Johnson and Johnson, they are not discarding it but just not using it for now. They are storing it in their lab freezers.”

Dr. Toomey said, “All the current sites will be functioning and all the special events for this weekend will also be functioning.”

Last week, out of caution, DPH paused the Johnson and Johnson rollout at a site in Atlanta after several people fainted, but that was not​ because of blood clots.

Georgia’s Health Department the Metro Atlanta area has more Pfizer doses, while the rest of the state has more Moderna allocations because it’s easier to store. Health leaders say if you scheduled a Johnson and Johnson vaccine, to not​ change your appointment, just yet.

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