GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) One of three Covid-19 vaccines approved for emergency use in the U.S. has been put back on the shelf for now. Health concerns over the safety of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have federal officials investigating.
Since the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was approved for use roughly 160,000 doses have been administered in Wisconsin. And Dr. Brad Burmeister from Bellin Health says it’s been used in the state with no ill effects.
“We’ve heard there have been no reported events in Wisconsin and we really don’t expect to see any given the very rare occurrences that we’ve seen with this,”said Dr. Burmeister.
The rare event that Burmeister is speaking of are six reported cases of blood clots in women between the ages of 18 and 48 after receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. It has prompted the CDC and FDA to recommend pausing use of the one-shot vaccine, administered so far to 6.8 million people.
“Right now, I’d like to stress, these events appear to be extremely rare. However, Covid-19 vaccine safety is a top priority for the federal government,” said acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock.
“Is this just a hiccup or a fluke that’s happening or is there something more that’s going on here,” said Dr. Burmeister.
That’s a question the FDA and CDC will now be investigating. And while the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is now unavailable, area health systems like Bellin Health say they have good supplies of both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
“We’re not having to cancel appointments and we can continue moving forward with alternative options,” Burmeister said.
But for some the news has reinforced their vaccine hesitancy.
“Not surprised. I think the whole thing has been rushed through too fast anyway and that’s part of the reason I’m not getting it,” said one woman in downtown Green Bay..
While others applaud the quick federal oversight.
“They’ve had just a few cases. Let’s have them do some more investigation before they put it back out there,” added one man.
Exactly what physicians like Dr. Burmeister recommend, saying vaccination is a vital tool in fighting this pandemic.
“We have alternatives. We can do the science, figure what’s going on and go from there,” said Burmeister.
Bellin Health, Prevea Health and ThedaCare have all paused administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine until further notice.