County to resume administering Johnson & Johnson vaccines

By Zoë Strickland, Staff Writer, , April 27, 2021

The county of Sonoma announced on April 26 that it would once again be administering Johnson & Johnson vaccines, following a two-week pause.

The county’s decision to resume using the one-dose vaccine reflects updated recommendations from both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that recommend the use of Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine.

“We’ve lifted the pause based on the FDA and CDC’s review of all available data and in consultation with medical experts and based on recommendations from the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. We have concluded that the known and potential benefits of the Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine outweigh its known and potential risks in individuals 18 years of age and older. We are confident that this vaccine continues to meet our standards for safety, effectiveness and quality. We recommend people with questions about which vaccine is right for them have those discussions with their health care provider,” said Janet Woodcock, M.D., Acting FDA Commissioner, in an April 23 statement.

The county paused its use of the vaccine on April 13, following reports of a small percentage of Johnson & Johnson vaccine recipients developing a rare and severe type of blood clot with symptoms occurring 6 to 13 days after vaccination.

“Dr. (Sundari) Mase agrees that the risk of developing the rare clotting disorder is extremely low. According to the CDC, to date there have been only 15 confirmed cases of the rare clotting event among nearly 8 million total doses administered in the U.S., all in females, which translates to a risk less than 2 cases per million doses overall, and 7 cases per million doses among women between 18 and 49 years of age,” stated an April 26 press release from the county. “For those who have a confirmed case of COVID-19, the risk of dying from it in the United States is 1 in 56.

“The public is strongly urged to get vaccinated as soon as possible. All vaccines are proven to be highly effective at preventing hospitalization or death from COVID-19, and people who are fully vaccinated are also much less likely to be contagious or transmit the virus to someone else. The longer you wait to get vaccinated, the greater the risk of contracting COVID-19, and infecting a friend, loved one, or coworker.”

People who have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine should contact their primary healthcare provider if they have concerns or if they develop severe symptoms of headache, abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccines makes up the smallest grouping of vaccines administered by the county. As of April 25, it had administered 12,099 doses.