Administration of the Johnson & Johnson Janssen COVID-19 vaccine has been paused in Missouri until further notice, a news release sent Tuesday by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services stated.

The pause has been initiated "in an abundance of caution and as per federal guidelines," according to Dr. Randall Williams, director of DHSS. A new standing order has been published by the department and is effective immediately.

On a national level, the CDC and FDA have begun reviewing data concerning six reported cases of a rare blood clot called cerebral venous sinus thrombosis. The clot was seen in combination with low levels of blood platelets.

All six of the cases were reported in women between the ages of 18 and 48, and symptoms occurred six to 13 days after vaccination.

"Treatment of this specific type of blood clot is different from the treatment that might typically be administered," said the FDA and CDC's joint statement regarding the vaccine. "Usually, an anticoagulant drug called heparin is used to treat blood clots. In this setting, administration of heparin may be dangerous, and alternative treatments need to be given."

The CDC will hold a committee meeting Wednesday to further review these cases and assess their potential significance, according to the statement. The FDA will be reviewing that analysis in addition to performing its own investigation.

In a thread on Twitter, Columbia/Boone County Public Health & Human Services laid out what the pause means for those who had appointments for the J&J vaccine scheduled.

"Expect to hear from your vaccinator about rescheduling your appointment after results of the ACIP meeting are announced," the first tweet read.

"If possible," the thread continued, "we recommend you register to receive a different vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) unless you are allergic to an ingredient. ...

"If you have recently received the J&J vaccine please do not worry. If you develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness of breath within 3 weeks of the vaccine, please contact your health care provider."

For more COVID-19 related news, see our section dedicated to COVID-19 updates.
  • Sara Sammons is a Public Health reporter at the Columbia Missourian. She can be reached at sarasammons@umsystem.edu or in the newsroom at 573-882-5720.

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