The CDC has recently recommended a pause in use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to investigate if there is a link between the vaccine and six reported cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot called cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST). The six cases occurred in women ages 18 to 48 who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine with symptoms occurring 6 to 13 days post vaccination.
Here are answers to questions about how John Muir Health is responding.
Is John Muir Health currently using the Johnson & Johnson vaccine?
John Muir Health is closely following guidance issued April 13, 2021 by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), California Department of Public Health and Contra Costa Health Services regarding use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Based on that guidance, we are pausing use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine until additional safety reviews are conducted.
Was John Muir Health using the Johnson & Johnson vaccine previously?
John Muir Health has used the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the past month to vaccinate home-bound patients, patients being discharged from our hospitals to skilled nursing facilities or long-term care facilities, patients vaccinated through our Mobile Health Vaccination Clinics in partnership with Contra Costa Health services, and John Muir Health providers and staff through two internal vaccination clinics. It has accounted for a little more than one percent of the total vaccine doses we have provided to date.
We will be reaching out directly to patients, providers and staff who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine from John Muir Health and meet the criteria for the cases being reviewed by the CDC. Our onsite Brentwood, Concord and Walnut Creek vaccination clinics have almost exclusively used the Pfizer vaccine. If you were vaccinated at one of those onsite clinics, you did not receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
I got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at somewhere other than John Muir Health. Are there symptoms I need to watch for?
If you received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the past three weeks, you should contact your John Muir Health or other health care provider immediately if you develop symptoms such as severe headaches, backache, new neurologic symptoms, severe abdominal pain, leg swelling, shortness of breath, tiny red spots on the skin, or new or easy bruising. These symptoms are different than the usual, minor reactions that some people may experience in the day or two following their vaccination and then go away. Symptoms of CVST have occurred between 6 and 13 days following a person's vaccination.
I have a vaccine appointment coming up at John Muir Health. Will it be cancelled? Should I be worried about getting vaccinated?
John Muir Health is not cancelling any vaccination appointments. We encourage all patients and community members to keep their scheduled appointments at our vaccination clinics or wherever your vaccination appointment is scheduled. The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is not part of this pause and there have been no reports of unusual clotting with the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.
We encourage you to get vaccinated
Vaccination is the key to ending the pandemic. With eligibility in Contra Costa County currently open to everyone 16+ and other CA counties opening up in a few days, we encourage you to seek a vaccine appointment from multiple places, including county or state locations or retail pharmacies. We are continuing to reach out to our patients to schedule vaccination appointments, but you don't have to wait to hear from John Muir Health.
While you are waiting your turn to be vaccinated, please continue to wear a mask, practice social distancing, wash your hands and follow public health orders. After you have been vaccinated, please continue to follow CDC guidance on wearing a mask, social distancing and hand hygiene.
Please stay safe. We will continue to provide updates as we have more information. We update our COVID-19 website with the latest information frequently.
Your care team at John Muir Health
About John Muir Health
John Muir Health is a nationally recognized, not-for-profit health care organization east of San Francisco serving patients in Contra Costa, eastern Alameda and southern Solano Counties. It includes a network of more than 1,000 primary care and specialty physicians, 6,000 employees, medical centers in Concord and Walnut Creek, including Contra Costa County’s only trauma center, and a Behavioral Health Center. John Muir Health also has partnerships with UCSF Health, Tenet Healthcare/San Ramon Regional Medical Center and Stanford Children's Health. The health system offers a full-range of medical services, including primary care, outpatient and imaging services, and is widely recognized as a leader in many specialties – neurosciences, orthopedic, cancer, cardiovascular, trauma, emergency, pediatrics and high-risk obstetrics care.