Illinois Department of Public Health Pauses Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Usage

By Jose Zepeda

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Out of an abundance of caution, the Illinois Department of Public Health is pausing usage of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

This comes as a recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Both the CDC and the FDA are looking at six U.S.-reported cases of a rare and severe blood clot that has been found in individuals who have received a Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

All six cases occurred among women between 18 and 48 years of age. Symptoms appeared 6 to 13 days after receiving the vaccination. Unlike the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine only requires one dose.

Anyone who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and develops a severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness of breath should contact their health care provider immediately.

The CDC says that while the blood clots are extremely rare, caution has to be taken because of how these blood clots must be treated. Normally, blood clots can be treated using an anticoagulant drug called heparin, however the usage of heparin in this setting can be dangerous and therefore requires alternative treatment.

The IDPH has notified all COVID-19 vaccine providers in the state to withdraw the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. They are recommending that vaccines providers switch over to Moderna or Pfizer vaccines.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine does not make up the vast majority of vaccines available in Illinois. The IDPH says that for the week of April 18, the state will have 483,720 total doses available. Of those doses, only 5,800 are expected to be the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Jose Zepeda

Jose Zepeda is a senior at the University of Illinois majoring in journalism and minoring in political science. He is now on his third year with Good Morning Illini, previously serving as director, reporter and crew member. He is also currently a digital intern for WILL, the NPR- and PBS- affiliate in Urbana and vice-president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists University of Illinois chapter. He also has his own podcast with fellow GMI-er Angelle Cortes called Just Chillin’. He brings previous experience as a features intern at The News-Gazette and as a daytime news editor at The Daily Illini. You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @JoseZepedaTV.