How Santa Clara County is responding to pause of J&J vaccine

Bay Area

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) — In response to the announcement to pause the use of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine, the Santa Clara County health system and its providers will stop administering the vaccine immediately. 

“The County system and other providers will pause the administration of the J&J vaccine while we wait for further updates from the CDC, from our federal partners, and from the state of California,” said Dr. Marty Fenstersheib COIVD-19 testing and vaccine officer for Santa Clara County. 

On Tuesday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended putting a pause on administering the J&J vaccine. 

The announcement comes after six women, ages 18 to 48,  who received the J&J vaccine had developed rare and severe blood clots — one of whom died. 

“However these complications that are being reported are extremely extremely rare,” said Fenstersheib. 

“None of the cases have been reported in California.”

County residents who are scheduled to receive a J&J vaccine will be accommodated by either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine. 

County officials report that approximately 62,000 people have already taken the J&J vaccine. 

“For individuals who are concerned because they were amongst the 62,000 people that have received the vaccine in our county, for people that received the vaccine more than a month ago, your risk is very very low at this time,” said Fenstersheib. 

“For people who recently got the vaccine within the last few weeks, should be aware of some of the symptoms.”

If you’ve received the J&J vaccine within the last few weeks and develop the following symptoms, you are advised to contact your primary health care provider or seek immediate medical attention:

  • Severe headaches;
  • Abdominal pain;
  • Leg pain or;
  • Shortness of breath.

“Again these conditions are extremely rare, none occurred in California and while we’re pausing we will wait for the results from the discussion at the federal and state level,” said Fenstersheib. 

An advisory committee for the CDC held an emergency meeting on Wednesday to discuss the decision to pause the use of the J&J COVID-19 vaccine. 

The panel of exports to the CDC says it will need more time to assess the data and risks while the vaccine pauses. 

But the county also announced a significant increase in vaccine supply from the federal government, adding another 300,000 doses. 

“And for a long time we’ve been talking about our great capacity that we’ve had, we just need the vaccine, well finally we’re going to see a tremendous increase in the amount of vaccines we are receiving and an increase in the appointments that we will have available,” said Fenstersheib.

“Combined with the increase from our state, since we do get additional vaccines from our state normally. We now have enough vaccines, really to quickly reach our goal protecting our entire community against COVID-19.”

The extra vaccine supply has now allowed the county to expand its eligibility to all individuals 16 or older who live and work in Santa Clara County. 

Communities most impacted the COVID-19 will also be able to have greater access to vaccine appointments as more capacity will be available at vaccine clinics. 

“This is a really big milestone for our community and the county’s efforts in providing the COVID vaccine to our community residents,” said Fenstersheib. 

Click here for a step-by-step process on how to sign up for the vaccine in Santa Clara County.

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