COVID-19 stock photo vaccine

While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration review rare reactions to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for coronavirus, Volusia County plans to keep its remaining doses in storage.

Of the 6.8 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine administered across the U.S., in six cases recipients experienced “a rare and severe type of blood clot,” according to the CDC. “All six cases occurred among women between the ages of 18 and 48, and symptoms occurred 6 to 13 days after vaccination.”

Risk of a severe reaction remains low, the Volusia County Department of Health told The Beacon.

“For people who received the vaccine more than a month ago, the risk to them is very low at this time,” a spokesperson for the Department of Health said. “For people who recently received the vaccine — within the last few weeks — they should be aware of any symptoms. If you have received the vaccine and develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath, they should contact their health care provider and seek medical treatment.”

The Volusia County Department of Health told The Beacon the decision to pause use of the Johnson & Johnson shot will not affect vaccine distribution locally, as the Moderna vaccine is used at all vaccination clinics at the Volusia County Fairgrounds. 

The Department of Health has used the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for smaller, targeted vaccination clinics across the county, such as a clinic in Pierson and other sites where scheduling follow-up appointments a month out would be challenging.

However, until the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advise its use, the Department of Health will use the Moderna vaccine for all clinics. 

According to Volusia County Department of Health Administrator Patricia Boswell, the supply the county received of the Moderna vaccine dwarfed that of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. 

The county received 1,109 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, she said, and have some 400 left. Those doses will remain in storage until the CDC advises the vaccine is safe to begin using again.