ROANOKE, Va. – States around the nation, including Virginia, put a pause on the Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine.
This move comes after reports of a possible rare disorder including blood clots found in six women and one of those women died. 10 News has learned that the death is a Virginia woman. We found CDC records that show a woman who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine experienced symptoms in line with these six cases and died in March.
VDH confirmed in a press release Tuesday that CDC officials are examining the death of the Virginia woman as part of its investigation into possible adverse side effects from the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Officials said the Virginia death was reported to the CDC’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) and a report can be found by searching the system for VAERS ID 1114806-1.
With this new information, vaccination efforts are on hold and some are more hesitant to get their shot.
“We need to get safe but we need to make sure what we’re putting in our bodies is safe for us,” said Lorie Wheeler, who has not been vaccinated.
However, there were mixed reactions after the pause of Johnson & Johnson distribution in Virginia.
“I don’t think it’s good. Just, as being a nurse in a hospital, and working with COVID patients, I really think that we need the vaccines,” said Phyllis Dalton, who got vaccinated.
Virginia health leaders say they made the call, not because of the frequency of these blood clot cases, but because of the pattern.
“Vaccine safety is of the utmost importance right. If we can’t confidently have the American public believe and trust in the safety and efficacy of vaccines, that could undermine the entire effort,” said Dr. Danny Avula, the state vaccination coordinator.
The move postpones 30 vaccine clinics across the Commonwealth with 72,000 doses, on hold.
But the Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts are largely unaffected with no major Johnson & Johnson clinics scheduled this week.
“We did have one small clinic. One of our community outreach vaccination team clinics that had we had had about 70 doses of Johnson & Johnson still left. We, of course, have switched that to Pfizer,” said Dr. Cynthia Morrow, director of Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts.
Health leaders are urging patience and confidence while some in the community remain hesitant.
“Even though we’re scared of the coronavirus right now, I think we need to be scared of this vaccine too because there needs to be more studies. There need to be more tests done,” said Wheeler.
“I waited and I feel like it’s better to have it than not have it,” said Dalton.