EVERETT — Vaccine providers can resume use of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine — this time with a warning about a rare but serious side effect, federal authorities announced Friday.
The benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks, the federal Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said, but providers should tell younger women about the rare blood clots, in clear terms.
Friday’s decision lifts an 11-day pause of vaccinations by the Johnson & Johnson product. It’s unclear when local clinics and mass vaccination sites will resume using the single-shot vaccine.
The pause, health officials said, was partially intended to give doctors time to learn how to treat the rare side effect.
“I am grateful for, and have trust in, the … rapid review and updated recommendations,” county health officer Dr. Chris Spitters said in a news release. “We’ll be coordinating with DOH and the Vaccine Taskforce to resume Johnson & Johnson vaccinations as indicated by the CDC and FDA and when supplies are available.”
He was referring to the state Department of Health and a county task force.
Of the nearly 8 million people who received the single-shot vaccine in the U.S., officials found 15 reports of blood clots, all in women. Three of them died.
Cases occurred primarily among women from ages of 18 to 49, and six to 13 days after vaccination.
Warning signs for such blood clots include severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness of breath.
“If people experience any of the symptoms following vaccination, they should contact their health care provider or seek medical attention immediately,” the health district news release said. “Please note that it is common to experience mild to moderate symptoms, including fever, headache, fatigue and joint/muscle pain, during the first week after receiving any COVID-19 vaccine.”
Those concerned about the increased risk may consider choosing another COVID-19 vaccine authorized for use.