Following the recommendation of federal health officials, Loudoun County and the Commonwealth of Virginia on Tuesday suspended use the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine pending the results of an investigation into rare but dangerous side effects possibly associated with the vaccine.
According to the county health department, approximately 2,840 people were scheduled to receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at Loudoun County’s vaccination clinic on Saturday, April 17. All of those doses will be replaced with the Pfizer vaccine. According to the county, everyone who is impacted by the change will be contacted directly by the Health Department.
Loudoun County will continue its vaccination efforts using the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
The federal Food and Drug Administration recommended pausing the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine while a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention committee reviews a possible side effect from the vaccine. According to the CDC, as of April 12, more than 6.8 million doses of the vaccine have been administered in the United States. Federal agencies are reviewing six reported cases in the U.S. of a rare and severe type of blood clot called cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, or CVST, in people after receiving the vaccine. All six were women between the ages of 18 and 48, and symptoms occurred six to 13 days after vaccination.
For people who have already received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the CDC and FDA have emphasized that the possible side effect from the vaccine is extremely rare. However, people who have received the vaccine who develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination should contact their health care provider, or call 911 if it is an emergency.
Pre-register for a vaccination appointment at vaccinate.virginia.gov.