COVID vaccine

The Minnesota Department of Health sent a message to health care providers Tuesday morning advising they follow a federal recommendation to pause use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine while experts review data about a rare blood clot reported in six people who received it in the United States.

All six cases were in women between the ages of 18 and 48, and symptoms occurred 6 to 13 days after vaccination.

As of April 12, more than 6.8 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have been administered throughout the country, 184,000 in Minnesota.

Johnson & Johnson vaccines only make up about 6.6% of those that have been distributed to Minnesotans.

Though state health care officials aren't aware of any cases in Minnesota, anyone who develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness of breath within three weeks of getting their Johnson & Johnson vaccine should contact their health care provider.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of the CDC will convene April 14 to review these cases and assess what they could mean going forward.

Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said she expects the pause to be "a matter of days, not weeks or months."

Local impact

Nearly all of the vaccine clinics in Scott County have been conducted with the Moderna vaccine, so the pause on Johnson & Johnson should not impact vaccination efforts locally, Public Health Director Lisa Brodsky said.

Carver County Public Health Director Richard Scott said they only received a small amount of doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Going forward, both counties will continue to take guidance from MDH.

In addition to Moderna, Scott and Carver counties are working together to plan expanded vaccination clinics for 16- to 17-year-olds using the Pfizer vaccine, Brodsky said.

The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community and Scott County are also partnering to offer a Pfizer vaccine clinic on April 21 for 16- to 17-year-olds in Shakopee, said Brodsky.

Going forward

In the meantime, those scheduled to receive a dose of Johnson & Johnson should look out for a notification cancelling, rescheduling or postponing the appointment.

If the appointment is canceled, look for other vaccination appointments through the state's Vaccine Locator map, local pharmacies or a health care provider. More information is available on the MDH website, health.state.mn.us

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