Gov. Mike DeWine Tuesday took action to temporarily stop the distribution of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine in Ohio.
It came in response to a nationwide order from the US Food and Drug Administration to pause the use of the vaccine after it was discovered that six women somewhere in the US who had received the vaccine suffered severe adverse reactions, including a rare blood clotting disorder.
DeWine said 264,311 people in Ohio had received the Johnson and Johnson vaccine so far and across the entire country the number was six million.
“This was six known cases out of six million. I’m not minimizing this at all. We’ll see what the experts decide,” DeWine said.
Federal authorities have not identified which states the women live in, but confirmed that of the six, one has died and one remains hospitalized in critical condition.
“These were six women between the ages of 18 and 48 years old and that they experienced their symptoms several days to within a few weeks of receiving the vaccine,” said Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, Chief Medical Officer of the Ohio Department of Health.
In a press briefing earlier in the day, acting FDA Commissioner, Dr. Janet Woodcock, said there is cause for concern but not alarm.
“Right now I would like to stress that these events appear to be extremely rare. However, COVID safety is a top priority for the federal government. We take all reports of adverse events following vaccination very seriously,” Woodcock said.
Medical experts say those that have already received the Johnson and Johnson vaccine more than a month ago appear to be in the clear.
Others who have been vaccinated with it more recently should be on the lookout for symptoms.
“They should look for headaches, change in their vision, shortness of breath, swelling or any pain in the lower extremities, or if they are having constant nausea and vomiting that doesn’t seem to go away,” said Dr. Mysheika Roberts, Columbus Health Commissioner.
In Ohio the state was in the process of using Johnson and Johnson vaccine for, among other things, distribution on college campuses so that students could be given one dose and be fully vaccinated before they left school for the summer.
Now, those that have not been vaccinated will have to seek out either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine at clinics elsewhere, requiring two doses.
DeWine said some clinics have temporarily shut down until the feds approve the J & J vaccine for use again. Some other clinics, according to DeWine, will be given shipments of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine. Either way, DeWine remained optimistic that the state’s plan for increased vaccination will not be sidetracked.
“It will get sorted out. We’ll move on,” DeWine said.