Governor to pause distribution of Johnson and Johnson vaccine

Vials of Johnson & Johnson's Janssen coronavirus disease vaccine are seen in an undated photograph. (J&J photo)

Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero will be pausing the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine as a result of guidance from the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

The FDA and CDC have called for an immediate pause on the use of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine after discovering six cases in the United States of a rare and severe type of blood clot.

The blood clots developed about two weeks after the vaccine was administered.

All six cases occurred among women between the ages of 18 and 48.

The CDC will convene a meeting this week to review the cases and assess their potential significance.

People who receive the Johnson and Johnson vaccine and develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath within three weeks, are advised to contact their healthcare provider.

Federal health officials said they don’t expect the pause to last long, but that all depends on what’s learned in the next few days. 

Dr. Felix Cabrera, chief medical officer of the Guam Department of Public Health and Social Services, said that the number of cases — six out of about 7 million doses administered —isn’t higher than chance.

He also said that women of child-bearing age are already more likely to get these types of blood clots, and the odds of getting COVID-19 and suffering severe symptoms are much higher.

Cabrera said that Guam can still achieve the governor’s goal of vaccinating half of the island by May 1st with just the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, but it will be more difficult and may just fall short when the May 1st deadline arrives.