RICHMOND, VA – Today the CDC and FDA released a joint statement recommending a pause in the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine out of an abundance of caution due to six reported U.S. cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot in individuals after receiving the vaccine. To date, more than 6.8 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have been administered in the U.S.

Following guidance from the FDA, CDC, and the Virginia Department of Health, the Richmond and Henrico Health Districts will pause all use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine until further notice. This pause will affect both our own vaccination events and our redistribution partners.  RHHD had four upcoming small or mobile vaccination events scheduled to use Johnson & Johnson, which were expected to vaccinate fewer than 750 individuals. Everyone with an appointment at one of these clinics will instead be offered the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines; please arrive at your scheduled appointment time. If you have an appointment at one of these events and have questions, you can call the RHHD call center (804-205-3501).

RHHD will also pause vaccinating homebound individuals and postpone a recently-launched initiative to provide walk-up vaccinations to seniors. Both of these programs relied on the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The pause on using Johnson & Johnson will not impact the more than 25,000 Pfizer and Moderna appointments scheduled during the month of April through the health district, nor the Pfizer and Moderna appointments scheduled through our partners.

This news is understandably concerning for individuals who have received a Johnson & Johnson vaccine recently. According to the CDC, all six cases occurred among women between the ages of 18 and 48 with symptoms occurring 6 to 13 days after vaccination. Although serious, this adverse event has been reported in very few individuals, and millions of adults have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine safely. This safety concern has not been seen in other vaccines currently authorized for use in the U.S. The CDC recommends adults who have received the vaccine to contact a healthcare provider if they experience severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination.

RHHD’s top priority is the health and safety of our communities. RHHD will continue to provide updates on this matter when there is new information.

About Richmond and Henrico Health Districts: RHHD are sister public health agencies serving Richmond’s and Henrico’s communities. Our mission is to expose and address the root causes of health disparities, protect health by preventing the spread of disease, and build health equity by partnering with communities and working collaboratively across sectors.