Ohio providers including Kroger and some college campuses suspended using the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine Tuesday while federal officials investigate reports of potentially dangerous blood clots.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration recommended that pause while investigating blood clots in six women in the days after vaccination, in combination with reduced platelet counts that would make the usual treatment for the clots dangerous.
Johnson & Johnson said no clear causal link has been established between its vaccine and the clots.
Millions of doses of the J&J vaccine have been given around the country, the vast majority with no or mild side effects. The majority of vaccines administered in the U.S. have been from Pfizer and Moderna, which aren’t affected by the pause.
Ohio has been using the single-dose J&J shot for vaccination clinics on university campuses and to expand availability in other areas.
The News Journal reported Monday afternoon that the Ohio Mass Vaccination Site at the Wilmington Air Park would not operate this week due to the nationwide shortage of the J&J vaccine, which has been administered there by Kroger Health.
Cincinnati-based Kroger halted administering the J&J vaccine at pharmacies and clinics in its supermarkets. Patients who were scheduled to receive that vaccine will instead get the Pfizer or Moderna two-dose vaccination if those are available, and if not, Kroger will work to reschedule those vaccination appointments, spokesperson Kristal Howard said.
The University of Cincinnati said its arena was still accepting walk-in patients on Tuesday, but they would get the Pfizer vaccine.
Ohio University said it will also switch to using Pfizer doses at its upcoming student clinics. Its statement acknowledged that the halt in J&J vaccines may be especially concerning to those who have received that type, but it noted that the blood clotting occurrences have been rare.
Dr. Anthony Fauci says Americans who’ve recently received a Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine shouldn’t be anxious about the pause in shots because of reports of blood clots.
The nation’s top infectious disease expert says, “It’s less than one in a million.” Fauci adds people should “pay attention” to symptoms associated with the blood clots, particularly between one and three weeks after the shot.
Fauci says the pause by regulators is a “testimony to how seriously we take safety.”
The News Journal contributed to this story.