DHEC officials warn of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine

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By HEATHER WALTERS South Carolina’s top health leaders have issued a warning to South Carolina residents about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine against COVID-19. According to officials with the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), the Janssen Vaccine, which is also called the Johnson & Johnson Vaccine, can cause blood clots to some residents who receive the vaccine. “South Carolina public health officials received word this morning, like many throughout the nation and the state, that the CDC and FDA have recommended immediately pausing use of the Janssen vaccine due to concerns with blood clotting,” as stated in a press release, issued by DHEC. “Our top priority is protecting the health and safety of the public. This pause is evidence of very close safety monitoring as part of the strict quality assurance that is in place to ensure patient safety.” DHEC’s warning mimics similar warnings issued by federal authorities, who spoke nationally on April 13th about the side-effects of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. According to DHEC, South Carolina has received a “small amount” of the Janssen vaccine from the federal government: only about 7,000 doses of this particular vaccine has been issued to South Carolina for distribution. This is compared to the more than 40,000 doses each of the other two COVID-19 vaccines, Pfizer and Moderna. With both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, the vaccination process was a two-step system. However, the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine was a one-step vaccination, meaning recipients only received one shot of the vaccine. “DHEC has placed an immediate pause on our Janssen distribution and has contacted providers to alert them of this new development,” according to DHEC officials. “In addition, we are currently in the process of rescheduling or changing planned vaccine types for events that were going to use Janssen.” Despite the pause in Janssen vaccine distribution, state health leaders encourage all South Carolina residents to continue to get vaccinated against the respiratory virus. As of press deadline, about 1 in 5 South Carolina residents have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to SCDHEC statistics. “Millions of people in the United States have received doses of vaccines with very little side effects,” as stated by DHEC officials in a press release, issued on Tuesday. “We continue to encourage South Carolinians to get vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to best protect yourself and others and will keep everyone updated as we learn more about the Janssen vaccine.”

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