Los Angeles, CA

The Johnson & Johnson pause is over. What did we learn from it?

Eugene Adams

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The FDA predicted that the J&J vaccine pause would last “a matter of days.” They were right. 

On Friday, The CDC and FDA lifted the pause. 

According to the acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock:

“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 are confident that this vaccine continues to meet our standards for safety, effectiveness and quality.”- Janet Woodcock

The pause was caused by six cases of a rare clotting disorder. As the review took place, that number rose to 15. Federal figures show that around 8 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have been given nationwide. 

Los Angeles Reaction 

Los Angeles has very set its ambitions very high when it comes to the vaccine rollout. This new makes it easier for them to reach that goal. 

L.A. Counties' chief science officer doesn't want any delays in administering J&J vaccines. 

“We don’t want to delay. We want to resume using the J&J vaccine.” Dr. Paul Simon

There’s still a small problem with the supply, however. Dr. Simon estimates that there are only around 13,000 available J&J doses in Los Angeles Counties network. 

“There is some reserve here that we can begin using immediately, but it’s very uncertain what the ongoing deliveries will be given the shortfall in manufacturing.” Dr. Simon

What Have We Learned?

There are two main lessons for Los Angeles County residents to take from the pause and unpause. 

The safeguards work 

The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System is in charge of detecting any potential problems with a vaccine. In this case, the system worked well. 

The potential problem was uncovered quickly and investigated thoroughly. 

It brought attention to an important issue

Dr. Francis Collins made it clear that these blood clots are rare but very treatable.

“This is a treatable condition if you recognize it right away. One of the reasons I think it’s been good to have this pause is to get everybody apprised of that so that all physicians know this is something to watch out for and can be prepared to treat it appropriately if it should happen again in the future.”-Dr. Francis Collins

The pause allowed the CDC to offer guidelines for how doctors should treat any potential blood clots. Now, doctors have been warned not to use heparin, a common blood thinner. 

What to Know

When Los Angeles residents get the J&J vaccine, they will be warned about what symptoms to look out for. Those symptoms include a persistent headache, a full-body rash, swelling, abdominal pain, leg pain, and/or shortness of breath. 

But, keep in mind how rare vaccine-related blood clots are—15 out of around 8,000,000 doses so far. 

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Southern California raised Henderson transplant. I write about sports and other events in the area.

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