My Patients Ask — I had the J&J COVID-19 vaccine. What do I do now?

The FDA and CDC have recommended a pause in the rollout of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. If you’ve received that vaccine, what should you do?

Nearly seven million Americans have received the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, which is now facing renewed scrutiny after six people who received it developed a rare, but severe type of blood clot.

But for those millions who have already received the one-shot vaccine, like you, what does this mean and what should you do?

First, take a deep breath and relax. Here’s why:

Your absolute risk appears to be less than one in million.

According to the FDA, all six cases involved women between the ages of 18 and 48, and the symptoms occurred six to 13 days post-vaccination.

So, if you’re male, a female outside of this age range, or had your vaccine 14 days ago or longer, the odds of you having a problem are pretty close to zero.

The concern is a rare condition called cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, which was seen in combination with low levels of blood platelets.

Cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) is the presence of a blood clot in the dural venous sinuses, which drains blood from the brain.

Symptoms may include headache, abnormal vision, any of the symptoms of stroke such as weakness of the face and limbs on one side of the body, and seizures. Of course, anyone having these symptoms should be seen immediately in an ER.

The FDA and CDC are now recommending that people who have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and develop a severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath within three weeks after inoculation contact their health care professional immediately.

Likely you’ll be referred to the closest ER as CVST is treated differently than other clots.

If diagnosed and treated properly, the majority of people with CVST recover completely.

A systematic review of nineteen studies in 2006 showed that mortality is about six percent during hospitalization and about nine percent in total. Of the survivors, 88% percent make a total or near-total recovery.

The really good news here is that our system is set up to catch these types of rare events very quickly and to respond to them immediately — as is being done in this case.


This blog was accurate as of the day of posting. However, as the COVID-19 pandemic rapidly evolves and the scientific community’s understanding of the novel coronavirus and the COVID vaccine develops, the information above may have changed since it was last updated. While I aim to keep all of my blogs on COVID and the COVID vaccine up to date, please visit online resources provided by the CDC, WHO, and your local public health department to stay informed on the latest news.

© Copyright WLL, INC. 2021. This blog provides a wide variety of general health information only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from your regular physician. If you are concerned about your health, take what you learn from this blog and meet with your personal doctor to discuss your concerns.

 

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