MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Two locations in Shelby county scheduled to administer Johnson & Johnson vaccines had to switch to Pfizer vaccines instead.
The move came as the federal government takes a closer look at potentially serious side effects.
“We are concerned, but not worried,” said Shelby County Health Officer Dr. Bruce Randolph.
Health officials in Tennesee, Mississippi and Arkansas say out of an abundance of caution they’re pausing the administration of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
The CDC and FDA made the recommendation after rare occurrences of blood clots in some patients.
In Tennessee, more than 318,000 people have already received the J&J shot.
We asked infectious disease expert Dr. Manoj Jain if people should be concerned.
“So this is a very good question. What we do know is the complications occurred within the first two weeks,” said Jain.
He also says it appears after 30 days people should be in the clear.
However, if that much time hasn’t passed the FDA and CDC said in a statement Tuesday:
People who have received the J&J vaccine who develop a severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination should contact their health care provider.
But health officials say it’s important to note how unlikely that is to happen.
In the U.S. there were six cases of blood clots, out of 6.8 million doses administered.
“It probably has to do with the immune system of the individual that their immune system reacted to the vaccine, it’s generally not the vaccine itself that has caused this directly,” said Jain.
Jain says it is still completely normal to have soreness at the injection site, fatigue and headaches 24-48 hours after receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
He says it’s usually seven days after receiving the vaccine that patients reported the more severe symptoms.
We asked Jain if what’s happening with the J&J vaccine proves that this country moved too quickly in the vaccination process.
He says no.
Jain says going from clinical studies involving thousands of people to mass vaccinations involving millions there are bound to be a few unexpected reactions.
The CDC will have a vaccine committee meeting Wednesday to discuss the vaccine reaction’s significance.