Updated: Sep 20
Belmont has paused its rollout of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine after federal health agencies reported six recipients in the United States developed blood clots within two weeks of receiving the shot.
“Incidences of this blood clot disorder are extremely rare among those receiving the vaccine — the six individuals who developed the clots were among 6.8 million people to have received the vaccine,” Health Services wrote in an email Tuesday. The six cases of blood clots were all women between the ages of 18 to 48 who developed symptoms 6 to 13 days after vaccination.
Out of an abundance of caution, Belmont has suspended its on-campus vaccine clinics, effectively immediately, until further recommendations are provided by the FDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Belmont Health Services announced in another email Tuesday.
This news comes after Belmont received and distributed hundreds of doses of the vaccine to students, faculty and staff.
The J&J vaccine is currently the only vaccine being distributed to Tennessee universities, and Health Services said Monday that Belmont had received an additional 675 doses of the vaccine with clinics planned for Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. Those clinics will not take place as planned.
“That was not the nicest thing to see today,” said freshman Emily Olivo.
Olivo got the vaccine on campus Friday and had some flu-like side effects in the following days, she said. Olivio said she now feels fine.
“Since it’s such a rare thing, I’m trying not to dwell on it,” she said.
Federal health agencies are recommending that states put the distribution of the J&J vaccine on hold while the outlying cases are investigated.
“Right now, these adverse events appear to be extremely rare,” the FDA and CDC confirmed in a joint statement Tuesday. “COVID-19 vaccine safety is a top priority for the federal government, and we take all reports of health problems following COVID-19 vaccination very seriously.”
Sophomore Jenna Moss got the vaccine Thursday and was slightly worried by Tuesday morning’s news, especially since the six cases of blood clots were women in her age range. That said, Moss understands we are still learning about the science of these vaccines.
“I think most people do recognize there’s no way to see these things until they happen,” she said, adding that different people react differently to vaccines.
“We’re all hoping for the best.”
Belmont initially received 500 doses of the J&J vaccine two weeks ago, and later received additional shipments. Health Services administered the vaccine to students, faculty and staff and was ready for any and all future doses they may receive from Metro Public Health.
There is no word on when vaccinations will resume on campus.
“CDC will convene a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices on Wednesday to further review these cases and assess their potential significance. FDA will review that analysis as it also investigates these cases,” said the CDC and FDA in Tuesday’s statement.
In the meantime, people who have received the J&J vaccine who develop a severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness of breath within three weeks of vaccination should contact their health care provider, according to the satement.
This article was written by Sarah Maninger and Anna Jackson.