YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – With just six cases of a rare but potentially fatal blood clotting problem reported, federal health officials say their decision to urge a “pausing” in the use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine was made out of an abundance of caution.
It’s in response to recommendations from the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control Tuesday after six people in the U.S. developed blood clots within two weeks of getting the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
“To ensure that any safety signal that came up during this vaccine rollout was fully addressed,” said Dr. Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research.
The Youngstown City Health District is temporarily stopping the administration of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, canceling some of the city’s upcoming clinics.
“We sat down, and we were getting our paperwork ready and it comes across,” said Youngstown City Health Commissioner Erin Bishop. “You’re like, now what? You have all these wonderful laid out plans and how we’re getting our people vaccinated, and now it throws a wrench into your plans.”
The vaccination clinic scheduled Tuesday at Youngstown State University was canceled along with clinics scheduled Wednesday and April 22 at the Covelli Centre.
Youngstown officials say they have plenty of open appointments for two Moderna vaccination clinics for April 20 and 21. These will be held at Congregation Rodef Sholom, 1119 Elm St.
To schedule an appointment, visit the Youngstown City Health District website.
In Columbiana County, five clinics were scheduled this week.
“We’ve contacted people and offered them Moderna at this point,” said Laura Fauss, spokesperson for the Columbiana County Health Department.
At this point, county health departments in the Valley have administered about 3,000 doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, with another 1,300 given in Youngstown as directors now look for replacement vaccines for clinics later this month. Some think the CDC’s move shows the government is monitoring the vaccine rollout.
“They’ve put a pause on the Johnson and Johnson vaccine at this point to make sure that it’s still safe to continue,” Fauss said.
But others worry they will see even more vaccine hesitancy, even if the “pause” lasts just a few days.
“These are the people that will now say, ‘See, I told you so.’ They’re validating their concerns,” Fauss said.
In the meantime, local providers are urging people already signed-up for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to see if they can use open appointments to obtain other versions.