Johnson & Johnson vaccines “pausing” in Louisiana due to CDC & FDA recommendations

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NEW ORLEANS– For the time being the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will no longer be given out to Louisiana residents state-wide in any parish.

Rare complications in some patients nation-wide has caused the pausing of the J&J vaccines.

The Louisiana Department of Health made the decision to pause the administering of Johnson & Johnson vaccines state-wide based on recommendations from the CDC and the FDA.

Dr. Shantel Hebert-Magee with the Louisiana Department of Health said, “It is not uncommon for drugs to be evaluated. We call it post market surveillance, and so the FDA does this routinely.”

The national recommendation to halt J&J vaccines comes after there were six rare cases of blood clots in females between the ages of 18 and 48.

“Sometimes there are rare conditions identified and then you have to determine if the drug is safe for continued use,” she said.

Locally both Ochsner and LCMC Health have spearheaded many vaccination events in our area. They both will substitute Moderna and Pfizer vaccines for future appointments. Today at Tableau Restaurant, Ochsner originally had a J&J event planned, but they quickly substituted the J&J shots for Pfizer. LCMC is prepared to do the same.

Dr. Jeffrey Elder with LCMC Health said, “As of now, if you already have an appointment then we will switch you over to Pfizer or Moderna. We will be reaching out to patients.”

So far in Louisiana there have been around 85,000 Johnson & Johnson doses administered and no cases of rare blood clots reported in our state. Doctors say if you did receive the J&J vaccine then just monitor your health.

“If you have severe symptoms like headaches, shortness of breath, leg pain, abdominal pain, then contact your medical provider immediately,” Dr. Hebert-Magee said.

As for now, this does put a bump in vaccine efforts.

“I’m a little disappointed that we don’t have J&J currently, but I am pleased that the process is working and we can say safety is being monitored,” Dr. Hebert-Magee said.

More than 6.8 million doses of the Johnson & Johson vaccine have been administered in the U.S. Doctors tell us that tomorrow the Federal Government will meet with the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices to determine how best to move forward.

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