MDH, Wisconsin DHS: Providers should follow federal pause on J&J vaccine

The Minnesota Department of Health and Wisconsin Department of Health Services said they are advising health care providers to follow the federal recommendation to pause the use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are reviewing data about six people who’ve reported an extremely rare type of blood clot after receiving the J&J vaccine.

As of Monday, more than 6.8 million doses of the J&J vaccine had been administered in the U.S., with all six cases of blood clots happening in women between the ages of 18 and 48 between six and 13 days after vaccination.

FDA: Pause of J&J COVID-19 vaccine to investigate clots to last ‘matter of days’

MDH said it isn’t aware of any of the 184,000 Minnesotans who’ve received the J&J vaccine having any blood clots but urged anyone who experiences symptoms like a severe headache, abdominal or leg pain, or shortness of breath to contact their health care provider.

"While this issue appears to be extremely rare, CDC and FDA are acting in a very cautious manner that underscores our commitment to vaccine safety," MDH Commissioner Malcolm said. "We will be closely monitoring the federal review process and use that information to help guide our efforts here in Minnesota in the days ahead."

"We are pausing administration of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine out of an abundance of caution. At this time, these adverse events appear to be extremely rare," DHS Secretary-designee Karen Timberlake added. "Vaccine providers should not administer the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at this time, and should hold on to the vaccine until federal review has been completed."

The FDA said the pause for the investigation is only expected to last a "matter of days."

This all comes as Minnesota opens a mass vaccination site on the State Fairgrounds Tuesday, a site scheduled to give both the Pfizer and J&J vaccinations.

Matt Adair, a Minneapolis resident, and the rest of the patients getting vaccinated Tuesday were all given a Pfizer dose. Adair says he is grateful.

"The thought of having to wait to get to today and suddenly be like, ‘Nope, we’re going to have to wait longer’ because whatever reasons they have, it’s just kind of comforting that I made that cut," he said. "At least where I can take the next step toward getting back to normal."