'Is it safe?': Hamilton Co. health experts weigh in on Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine

Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine
Posted at 7:07 PM, Apr 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-13 19:19:09-04

CINCINNATI — The Johnson & Johnson vaccine was Hamilton County's go-to for people experiencing homelessness, people who are home-bound, and for mass vaccination sites. When state and federal health officials recommended pausing its use Tuesday, questions began to percolate.

The COVID-19 shot Ohio ordered more than any other brand last week is on hold -- under Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Federal Drug Administration review -- after six women under 50 suffered severe blood clots less than two weeks after getting doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

We asked WCPO 9 viewers for their questions after the recommendation came down.

One viewer wrote: "Is it safe?" Another worried about symptoms and when she would be in the clear.

"If the patient has had the (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine within the past two weeks and they have any serious side effects like severe headaches, shortness of breath, swelling or some new pain, they need to contact their physician to get checked," said Dr. Stephen Blatt, Tri-Health's medical director for infectious diseases.

In a series of tweets Tuesday morning, the FDA said it was recommending a pause after receiving reports that six people developed "rare and severe" blood clots after receiving the vaccine.

So far, nearly 7 million Americans have received a dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Dr. Peter Marks, the director of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said during a press conference Tuesday that the clotting events led to the death of one patient and that another patient remains in critical condition.

"CDC will convene a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) on Wednesday to further review these cases and assess their potential significance. FDA will review that analysis as it also investigates these cases," the FDA said in a statement Tuesday.