WashU Med pausing J&J vaccinations

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration have recommended a “pause” in the administration of the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine. The agencies have made this move out of an abundance of caution due to the identification of a rare but serious potential side effect in approximately one per one million vaccine recipients.

Accordingly, we have canceled our vaccination clinic today on the Medical Campus, where we recently have been administering this vaccine to some of our students, faculty, staff and patients. Anyone with an appointment for today should have received a cancellation notice. Canceled appointments will be rescheduled for Friday, April 16, from 7:45 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. at the Institute of Health, where the Pfizer vaccine will be given.

More than 6.8 million doses of the J&J vaccine have been administered in the United States, and there have been a total of six reported cases of individuals developing blood clots within two weeks of receiving the vaccine. Some cases have been serious, including one death. It is important to note that we do not yet know if these cases are due to the vaccine. We will follow the investigation closely and determine our next steps based on the findings and federal recommendations.

Anyone who has received the J&J vaccine in the past three weeks should pay close attention to potential side effects including headache, leg pain or swelling, abdominal pain or shortness of breath. If you experience an adverse reaction, contact your personal physician and report any side effects to the WashU Med COVID-19 Exposure/Illness Hotline at 314-362-5056.

We will provide an update when more information becomes available.