J&J suspension appears to have minimal effect in county

Chad Drury, Ottumwa Courier, Iowa
·2 min read

Apr. 13—OTTUMWA — The temporary pause of the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine for usage in the United States by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Food and Drug Administration appears to have little effect in Wapello County.

The one-dose vaccine, which can be stored at room temperature, has an efficacy rate of over 60%, but paused for usage Tuesday morning after the CDC and FDA found six cases of unusual blood clots in the brain out of over 6.8 million doses administered. All six cases were found in women ages 18-48, and the side effects occurred six to 13 days after receiving the shot.

Wapello County Emergency Manager Tim Richmond released a brief statement Tuesday about the county's allocation of the vaccine.

"In Wapello County, J&J vaccine has been administered only in specific populations identified by Iowa Department of Public Health in the tier groups such as prisoners and food manufacturing," he said. "Vaccine administered to the public by Wapello County Public Health has been Moderna which has been in use since mid-December."

Wapello County Public Health Director Lynelle Diers, in an email to the Courier, said the county has received just one shipment of J&J vaccine.

"The vaccine allotted wasn't completely dispensed, but was used in identified tier groups," she said. "We have not seen any severe side effects to the vaccine in this county."

Jefferson County Public Health in Fairfield and Davis County Public Health in Bloomfield both had a J&J clinic scheduled for Wednesday but have canceled them. In separate Facebook posts, the departments said they would be calling individuals to notify them of the clinic cancellation.

Other area counties also have received limited shipments of the J&J vaccine.

Monroe County Public Health, according to its Facebook page, was scheduled to have J&J clinics, but is not likely to receive the vaccine for at least two weeks, but said it would keep residents' information for when they could start up. Van Buren County had appointments for the vaccine last week, and Appanoose County had walk-in appointments for the vaccine last week.

Johnson & Johnson is the only one-dose vaccine available, but the White House estimates 28 million doses of Moderna and Pfizer will be available this week and that "there is more than enough supply to continue the current pace of more than 3 million shots per day."

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine had made up less than 5% of the total shots given, the government said.

The CDC said it has seen no issues with either of the other two federally authorized vaccines.

— Chad Drury can be reached at cdrury@ottumwacourier.com, and on Twitter @ChadDrury