T.Three vaccination centers, one in Colorado and two in North Carolina, briefly halted administration of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for COVID-19 earlier this week after a small percentage of recipients experienced side effects. The recordings resumed after research by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found the incidents consistent with the known side effects of the vaccine.
On Wednesday afternoon (April 7), a mass vaccination clinic in a ballpark outside of Denver was closed after 11 people felt unwell within 15 minutes The Denver Post. Her reactions included nausea, dizziness, and fainting; Nine people were treated with juice and water on site, and two were taken to hospital. More than 1,700 people were vaccinated on site that day.
“After reviewing each patient’s symptoms, analyzing other vaccinations from the same vaccine lot, and speaking with the CDC to confirm our results, we are confident that there is no cause for concern,” said Eric France, das Chief Medical Officer Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment, in a statement released the following day. “We are committed to ensuring that every community clinic is well staffed with medical specialists who take patient safety with the utmost seriousness, just like in yesterday’s clinic.”
Yesterday, a similar incident occurred at a mass vaccination site in a sports arena in Raleigh, North Carolina that had administered more than 2,300 Johnson & Johnson shots. There 18 people reacted, four of whom were taken to hospitals. The Wake County Public Health Department released a statement later that day that it was investigating the incident with the CDC and that the federal agency had recommended that the vaccines be promoted.
“We’ve been administering J&J vaccines here in Wake County since early March, and more than 4.5 million people across the country have received J&J shots,” said Kim McDonald, Wake County’s medical director, in the statement. “Responses are expected, but the important thing is that our patients are here and we are being monitored and that medical staff are right here in our clinics to respond to these rare events.”
“There is no greater priority than the safety and wellbeing of the people we serve. When we receive reports of adverse events in people receiving our drugs and vaccines, we collect the necessary information and carefully evaluate the events, ”Johnson & Johnson spokeswoman Lisa Cannellos wrote in an email to The News & Observer in Raleigh.
David Wohl, an infectious disease doctor at the University of North Carolina Medical School who helps run another clinic where Johnson & Johnson injections were also cut yesterday, reports the News & Observer that more people in this location report feeling drowsy and weak with this vaccine than with the other COVID-19 vaccines the clinic is delivering. He suggests that this may be because people fearful of vaccines are looking for the single-dose version from Johnson & Johnson. “We have a lot of people who take the J&J vaccine because they don’t want two shots, because they don’t like needles,” he says.
“Feeling anxious or fainting can often occur after a vaccination or medical procedure such as a blood draw is performed,” said state epidemiologist Rachel Herlihy in a statement from the Colorado Department of Health. “When you go to your vaccine appointment, bring a drink and snack or a friend or family member to calm yourself down.”