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For Immediate Release
April 16, 2021
Jennifer Miller, 608-266-1683
Elizabeth Goodsitt, 608-266-1683

Federal Review Extended for Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine

Vaccine providers should not administer Johnson & Johnson vaccine

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) announces the pause on administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will continue until a federal recommendation is made to lift it. This extension follows Wednesday’s federal review by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). The committee recommended a continuation of the pause while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) collects and analyzes more information about the potential link between vaccination and this rare and severe type of blood clotting. ACIP will reconvene in a week to review the additional data. As a result, vaccine providers should not administer the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at this time.

“Safety is our number one priority when it comes to protecting public health,” said DHS Secretary-designee Karen Timberlake. “We appreciate the level of complexities being considered by this national panel of independent experts in their review of the vaccine, and are working with Wisconsin providers to be aware of these adverse events and how to evaluate and treat patients with the noted symptoms.”

Until a federal determination is made, vaccine providers should continue to hold any Johnson & Johnson vaccine they have at proper storage and continue timely reporting of any adverse events to the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS).

Anyone who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine should monitor for the following symptoms for up to three weeks after their vaccination: severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath. If you develop any of these symptoms, contact your health care provider.

“While we are rapidly learning about this new complication, what we know so far is that it is quite rare, and in all cases has been associated with extremely low levels of platelets in the blood. This is a very specific and unusual finding that medical providers can detect with a simple blood test,” said Dr. Ryan Westergaard, DHS Chief Medical Officer in the Bureau of Communicable Diseases.

A reminder that the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are available and extremely safe and effective at preventing COVID-19. DHS encourages everyone to continue with their Pfizer and Moderna vaccination appointments, especially as disease activity continues to be at high levels in many parts of the state and variant strains continue to be reported.

For up-to-date information about Wisconsin’s COVID-19 response, visit the DHS COVID-19 webpage. We encourage you follow @DHSWI on Facebook, Twitter, or dhs.wi on Instagram for more information on COVID-19.

Last revised April 16, 2021