FAQs COVID-19 Vaccines: Update

Posted April 15, 2021, 10:11AM

Please see questions and answers below regarding the COVID-19 vaccines and recent pause in the Johnson & Johnson (J&J/ Janssen) COVID-19 vaccine. This list of questions and answers was compiled on April 15, 2021. For updates, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/safety/JJUpdate.html. 

COVID J&J Updates Graphic

Q: What can you share about the recent Johnson & Johnson pause on the COVID-19 vaccine?

A: On April 13, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Federal Drug Administration (FDA) recommended a pause in the use of Johnson & Johnson’s (J&J)/ Janssen COVID-19 vaccine. Of the nearly seven million doses administered so far in the United States, a small number of cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot have been reported in people after receiving the J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine. All reports occurred among women between the ages of 18 and 48, and their symptoms occurred six to 13 days after vaccination.

The use of this vaccine is now paused to reassess the safety of the vaccine after a small number of people developed a rare and severe type of blood clot following their shot.

We do not know enough yet to say whether the vaccine caused or was in some way related to this health issue, so the CDC and FDA recommended that use of the the vaccine be temporarily halted until more is learned.

According to the joint Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Federal Drug Administration (FDA) announcement, the recommendation to pause administering the vaccine would enable officials to communicate with and prepare the healthcare system to recognize the potential concern and treat patients appropriately. Healthcare providers are being informed of the  importance of reporting severe health events in people who have received this vaccine. This pause also will allow CDC’s independent advisory committee, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, to meet, review the existing cases, and assess their potential significance.

As of April 13, 2021, no cases of severe side effects or the rare blood clot have been reported among the more than 180 million people who received the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines.

If you were scheduled to get the J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine during this pause, please work with your vaccine provider to reschedule your appointment to receive another recommended COVID-19 vaccine.

Q: What suggestions do you have for students, faculty and staff who received the J&J COVID-19 Vaccine?

A: Anyone who received this vaccine in the last three weeks is advised to seek urgent medical care if you develop any of the following symptoms:

  • severe headache
  • backache
  • new neurologic symptoms
  • severe abdominal pain
  • shortness of breath
  • leg swelling
  • tiny red spots on the skin (petechiae), or
  • new or easy bruising

These symptoms differ from the typical side effects (under "Possible Side Effects" after the shot listed here https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/different-vaccines/janssen.html).

Q: As a parent of a student who received the J&J COVID-19 vaccine what should I do?

A: If your child received this vaccine in the last three weeks, seek urgent medical care if they develop any of the following symptoms and serious side effects:

  • severe headache
  • backache
  • new neurologic symptoms
  • severe abdominal pain
  • shortness of breath
  • leg swelling
  • tiny red spots on the skin (petechiae), or
  • new or easy bruising

Q: How do I know if my side effects are serious?

A: If you develop any of the side effects above, or any symptoms that you are concerned about, seek immediate medical care for evaluation. It is also important to let your healthcare provider know that you’ve received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and to describe your specific symptom(s) when seeking care.

Q: What about the additional vaccines (Moderna and Pfizer)? Should I have any concerns?

A: As of April 13, 2021, no cases of serious side effects have been reported among the more than 180 million people who received the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines.

Q: Where can I get additional information?

A: Additional information can be found here:

A: The CDC and its vaccine advisory committee (ACIP) are important sources of information. You can also discuss questions, concerns and recommendations with your personal health care provider.

If you experience any adverse events after vaccination, report them to v-safe and the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System.

This information was taken directly from the CDC Johnson & Johnson update page, which can be used as a resource: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/safety/JJUpdate.html

Special thanks to the NCCU Advanced Center for COVID-19 Related Disparities (ACCORD) team for compiling this information. 

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