HOUSTON – Federal health officials recommended a pause Tuesday in the administration of Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus vaccine while reports of blood clots in people who have received the shot are investigated.
Officials at both the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a joint statement the move was “out of an abundance of caution.”
The recommendation has led to a stoppage of the J&J COVID-19 shot, also known as the Janssen vaccine, in Texas. Harris County and Houston health officials have followed suit.
Dr. David Persse, chief medical officer for Houston, said there have been six cases of blood clots reported nationwide out of the millions of J&J doses that have been administered.
“Six cases out of 6.8 million doses (that) have been given, so those are extremely rare,” Persse said. “That’s literally less than 1 in a million.”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said none of those cases are in Texas.
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Persse said that the timeframe of this type of complication from the vaccine appears to be between one and three weeks from the time a person receives the shot.
State health officials said anyone who experiences a severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness of breath after receiving the shot should contact their health care provider. Texans can also call 211 to receive a referral to a health care provider.
Persse said that while this complication is rare, it is serious if it develops. He said it is treatable, so it’s important that people contact their health care provider if they experience adverse reactions.
One thing officials agree on is the importance of receiving a coronavirus vaccine. They said the risks associated with contracting COVID-19 are much higher than the risks of getting the shot.
“Vaccines are a crucial tool to mitigating the spread of COVID-19 and remain the most effective way to combat the virus in our communities,” Abbott said.
Texans can still receive either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines while the J&J vaccine is being investigated.