Southwest Health District stops giving Johnson and Johnson vaccine

Southwest Health District stops giving Johnson and Johnson vaccine

ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - The Johnson and Johnson vaccine is no longer being administered in Georgia for the time being. This comes after the CDC and FDA reported six women experiencing severe blood clots after the vaccine.

Southwest Health District Director Dr. Charles Ruis said it’s very early to know what caused these issues for sure, but they are taking the necessary precautions.

“As of (Tuesday), there really are only two vaccines that are available to the public,” said Ruis.

Ruis said they reached out to all their health departments and farm worker clinics to tell them not to use and Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

“The action that has been taken is very prudent, very wise and appropriate, but at this point, it’s too early to say that the Johnson and Johnson vaccine did indeed cause these blood clots,” said Ruis.

He said for those who made an appointment for the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, they can still get the Moderna.

“Don’t wait on the Johnson and Johnson. If the person is ready to get vaccinated today, go ahead and make an appointment to get the first available vaccine that you could get,” said Ruis.

Dr. Charles Ruis is the Southwest Health District director.
Dr. Charles Ruis is the Southwest Health District director. (Source: WALB)

He said they are not throwing out any Johnson and Johnson vaccine. Adding that further investigation may find a way for them to safely use it in the future.

“None of these cases have occurred in men. It may be something that is okay to use on men. We are keeping the vaccines safe in the hope that at some point, we will be able to use them again,” said Ruis.

Ruis said something to keep in mind is the large amount of Johnson and Johnson vaccines administered with a low number of issues.

“These cases are among over 6 million doses that have been administered, so that tells us right away that this is a very rare occurrence,” said Ruis.

He said if you got the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, some things you can look out for are unusual side effects lasting longer than 72 hours.

“Shortness of breath swelling of the legs pain in the legs severe headache. It’s important to note that all of the patients developed symptoms within 13 days,” said Ruis.

Ruis said they don’t know for sure, but it may be that if the problems haven’t developed within a couple of weeks, they may not develop at all.

“This is concerning but it doesn’t change the fact that COVID vaccines do far more good than the harm that we’ve seen,” said Ruis.

For now, Ruis said they are waiting for the CDC and FDA to do more investigating on the vaccine before they take any more steps.

If you have any of the above side effects, Ruis said you should contact your health care provider.

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