Both Allegan and Van Buren/Cass health departments joined other healthcare organizations across Michigan last week in postponing use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.

The two health departments did so after the Federal Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control recommended pausing use of the one-shot vaccine.

Their recommendation prompted the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services on Tuesday to stop all use of the J&J vaccine until more is known about whether it is safe to continue using it. There is no impact, however, on use of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.

“The state of Michigan is stopping use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine until we have more information on the few incidents of concern and clear recommendations on future use,” said Dr. Larry Wile, medical director with the Van Buren/Cass District Health Department. “Our health department has been using Moderna vaccine for the entire duration of the vaccine roll-out in Van Buren and Cass County with great success. The latest news does not change the fact that COVID-19 vaccination overall is safe and effective. Millions have been vaccinated.We encourage the community to continue to take advantage of the benefits of getting a vaccine.”

Allegan Health Department is also continuing its Pfizer and Moderna vaccinations.

“We will pause all use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and replace with Pfizer and Moderna vaccines until the FDA and CDC complete the investigation process regarding reports of blood clots after receiving Johnson & Johnson vaccine,” said Allegan County Health Officer Angelique Joynes. “While adverse events are extremely rate, vaccine safety remains to be our highest priority.”

ACHD had intended to use the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at a clinic today (April 18).The pause also includes redistribution of vaccine and plans for mobile clinics.

Per the FDA and CDC, people who have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine who are experiencing severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath within three weeks (21 days) after vaccination should contact their health care provider. If you received the Johnson & Johnson shot and have not developed any of the side effects associated with the signs of blood clots within three weeks after vaccination, the risk of an adverse reaction is unlikely; however continue to monitor for symptoms.

As of April 7, ACHD had administered 1,170 doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine from previous clinics.

Health care providers are asked to report adverse events to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System at vaers.hhs.gov/reportevent.html

“As cases and hospitalizations in Allegan County individuals continue to increase, we encourage everyone to get vaccinated when they have the opportunity to do so. Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are still available for those who want the vaccine,” Allegan County Medical Director Richard Tooker said.