INDIANAPOLIS — As we learn more about the decision to temporarily pause the use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, it is important to put the numbers in context.
As of Tuesday, the blood clot side effects occurred in six out of 6.8 million people who have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Medical professionals said that while this side effect is serious, it is extremely rare and the vast majority of people who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine had no serious side effects and are now protected against COVID-19.
“I just know I needed to get it and I didn't really think about Johnson & Johnson, it was just one and done it and it was available at the track,” Laura Taylor of Speedway, said. Taylor added she has an appointment scheduled to get her shot there on April 28. However, at this point, she is not sure which type of COVID-19 vaccine she will get.
“There have been one out of one million cases of clotting disorders that may or may not be related to the Johnson & Johnson one,” said Dr. Robin Ledyard, Chief Medical Officer at Community Health Network. “It is very rare incidents so I wouldn't be overly worried about it, but I also applaud the CDC and FDA for taking notice, taking that down.”
She says while rare, this is still a serious side effect and it is not uncommon for a medication or vaccine to be pulled back like this.
“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,” Dr. Ledyard said.
If you already got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, Dr. Ledyard recommends keeping an eye out for side effects like headaches, leg pain and chest pain. She said those will happen within the first three weeks of getting the shot. If you experience any of them you should call your doctor.
Right now, it is still unclear how long the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be paused, but Taylor said she's putting her trust in medical professionals and would feel comfortable getting the shot if it is cleared for use again.
“If they think it is safe I would still go ahead and get it and go from there. If they still say go ahead and get the Moderna or Pfizer I would go ahead and get that too, so yeah I feel comfortable with which ever they would determine,” Taylor said. “I just want to go ahead and get vaccinated and help the cause.”