Wisconsin DHS instructs vaccinators to pause use of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine

MADISON, Wis. — The Wisconsin Department of Health Services is instructing vaccinators to pause the use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine in the state.

The department made the announcement Tuesday morning, following recommendations from the CDC and FDA after six cases of blood clots have been reported out of the 6.8 million doses given so far in the United States.

“We are pausing administration of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine out of an abundance of caution. At this time, these adverse events appear to be extremely rare,” said DHS Secretary-designee Karen Timberlake. “Vaccine providers should not administer the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at this time, and should hold on to the vaccine until federal review has been completed.”

Public Health Madison and Dane County announced earlier Tuesday it would be pausing the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, and other providers like SSM Health announced they would do the same.

The Wisconsin DHS says vaccinators should continue to hang on to their doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine until the CDC can determine if there are more cases of the rare clotting disorder and to provide guidance on how to treat the condition.

In the meantime, people who have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are encouraged to monitor their symptoms.

“For residents who have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, be in contact with your health care provider if you have a severe headache or new vision problems during the first two weeks after receiving the vaccine,” said DHS Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ryan Westergaard.

People who got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine should also report abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath 6-13 days after getting the shot. If you’ve had any of those symptoms, you’re asked to call your doctor and use the “V-Safe Program” to report the symptoms.

So far there have been no reports of the clotting condition with the Pfizer or Moderna mRNA vaccines.