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Western Upper Peninsula Health Department pauses use of Johnson & Johnson vaccine

HANCOCK — Western Upper Peninsula Health Department (WUPHD) is pausing all use of the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 vaccine. The FDA and CDC have recommended this pause, and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has confirmed it. The WUPHD is stopping all use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine until more is known. There is no impact on the use of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.

For today, the scheduled vaccine clinic at the WUPHD in Gogebic County will operate and will offer the Moderna vaccine. The scheduled homebound visits for today in Houghton County are postponed. The vaccination clinic scheduled for Thursday at Michigan Tech’s Student Development Center Complex (SDC) will operate and will offer the Moderna vaccine. Individuals with appointments will be contacted and offered the Moderna vaccine or be rescheduled as soon as possible.

“We are stopping all use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine until we have more information on the few incidents of concern and clear recommendations on future use,” says Robert Van Howe, MD, MS, FAAP, medical director with the Western Upper Peninsula Health Department (WUPHD). “This does not change the fact that COVID-19 vaccination overall is safe and effective. Millions have been vaccinated.”

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) is scheduled to meet Wednesday. Pending the Committee recommendation, all scheduled Johnson & Johnson clinics are tentative. In addition, all current scheduling for vaccine appointments with the WUPHD is paused while staff assess supplies and contact those scheduled today.

The risk of the side effects for people who got the vaccine more than a month ago is very low. People that received the vaccine within the last few weeks should be aware of any symptoms. If you have received the vaccine and develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath, you should contact your healthcare provider and seek medical treatment.

This side effect has not been seen in the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. People who are scheduled to receive either of these vaccines should continue with their appointments.

Residents can visit hps://coppercountrystrong.com/vaccine to locate a vaccine provider in their area. Those without computer access should call 211 or their healthcare provider for assistance in scheduling an appointment.

For more informaon on COVID-19 please visit wuphd.org, michigan.gov/coronavirus, or cdc.gov/coronavirus.

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