Dear students, faculty and staff,

This morning, the CDC and FDA released a joint statement on the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. Out of an abundance of caution, they have issued a pause on the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine while six cases of a rare clotting event are further examined that are potentially linked to the vaccine. These six cases occurred among 6.8 million administered doses of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine in the United States. All happened among women between the ages of 18 and 48 with symptoms being displayed six to 14 days after vaccination. No clotting complications have followed either the Moderna or Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

The CDC will convene a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) on Wednesday to further review these cases and assess their potential significance. The FDA will review that analysis as it also investigates these cases. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services has issued the following statement (see video):

Our primary concern is the health and safety of all North Carolinians, which is why out of an abundance of caution, we are following the recommendations and are immediately suspending administration of Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) until we learn more. Recognition of these events in a timely manner is a sign of our system working. We will provide more information as it becomes available.

Right now, these adverse events appear to be extremely rare. If you have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, please be sure to monitor your health. If you develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination, please seek medical evaluation. For severe symptoms, seek immediate care at a local emergency room or by calling 911. Evaluation of mild symptoms may be provided by contacting the Student Health Service (for students) or your healthcare provider (for faculty and staff) or local urgent care facilities. Be assured that our Student Health Service team is aware of what to look for in vaccine recipients with symptoms that could be related to this complication.

In addition to monitoring their health, any student, faculty or staff member who has received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine should stay alert to news and recommendations from the CDC. If you have an appointment to receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the future, you should continue to monitor the website of the vaccination provider for updates (e.g., Walgreens, Forsyth County Health Department, etc.).

Cecil D. Price, MD
Director, Student Health Service