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What you need to know: Indiana pauses use of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines

johnson & johnson vaccine medical
Posted at 5:37 PM, Apr 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-13 21:06:26-04

INDIANAPOLIS — On Tuesday, the Indiana State Department of Health announced it will temporarily stop using Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine.

The announcement comes after the U.S. government called for an additional review after six people developed "rare and severe" blood clots after getting the shot. Nearly 7 million people in America have received the shot.

Here's what you need to know.

Who's is recommending the pause and why?
The Food and Drug Administration and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention are recommending the pause "out of an abundance of caution."

Six people developed "rare and severe" blood clots after receiving the vaccine, the FDA announced.

The clotting led to the death of one person and another remains in critical condition, Dr. Peter Marks, the director of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research said.

What are doctors saying?
WRTV Reporter Megan Sanctorum spoke with Dr. Robin Ledyard, the chief medical officer at Community Health Network.

Ledyard said she's applauding the CDC and FDA for taking notice.

"When we do introduce new medications we may find that there are side effects after we begin giving it to millions of people because whenever we do any study we don’t do it on millions of people, we may do it on tens of thousands of people, so then as you increase the number that new medicine reaches you may find that there are side effects that you didn’t see in that smaller group,” Ledyard said.

WRTV's Good Morning Indiana Anchor Lauren Casey spoke with Franciscan Health Vice President, Dr. Christopher Dohering, about what's so concerning about the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine at this time. Watch the video below to hear what he has to say:

What caused the J&J pause?

What is Cerebral venous sinus thrombosis?
Cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) occurs when a blood clot forms in the brain’s venous sinuses, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. This prevents blood from draining out of the brain. As a result, blood cells may break and leak blood into the brain tissues, forming a hemorrhage.

I have an appointment to get the vaccine at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. What does that mean for me?
The Indiana State Department of Health announced it will administer the Moderna vaccine at the site until further notice.

Those who get the Moderna vaccine at the site will need to schedule an appointment to get a second dose. Details on how to schedule your second appointment will be released at a later date.

Can I cancel or reschedule my appointment?
Anyone with an appointment to get a Johnson & Johnson vaccine at a site other than IMS between now and Thursday can call 211 to cancel their appointment or reschedule at another site offering the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.

Additional details about appointments after Thursday will be released later.

I've already had the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. What symptoms should I watch for?
According to ISDH, those who got the vaccine within the last three weeks should call their healthcare provider if they have any of these symptoms:

  • Severe headache
  • Abdominal pain
  • Leg pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Leg swelling

What impact will this have on Indiana's vaccination plans?
Dr. Lindsey Weaver, ISDH's chief medical officer, said the state will have a better understanding of the impact in the coming days.

"Of course, we need more vaccine here in Indiana, so any time where we’re receiving less or don’t have the ability to give as much as we would like, then, of course, that may hurt our vaccine efforts," Weaver said.

Will this have an impact on Indiana's reopening plans?
Rachel Hoffmeyer, press secretary for the governor's office, told WRTV it won't have an impact on the state's reopening plans.

This story will be updated.