COLLEGE STATION, TX — Today, the CDC and FDA are recommending pausing vaccination clinics using Johnson & Johnson, as they review data where a small number of cases were reported to have severe health reactions to the vaccine.
Texas A&M University received and administered a batch of Johnson & Johnson vaccines earlier in March, to the 1A and 1B population of faculty, staff, and students on campus.
“We gave all 100 doses that week and about 60 of them were given to students and 40 were given to faculty and staff,” Dr. Martha Dannenbaum, the Director for Student Health Services at Texas A&M shared with KRHD 25 News.
It has been about five weeks since they have received this batch of vaccines. Those who received J&J through the health center have not expressed concerns regarding symptoms related to clotting.
This week the student health center received two thousand doses of J&J, but did not administer or schedule any appointments since receiving them.
”We do still have our allocation of J&J that we received and will keep that appropriately stored until we get further guidance from the state and the federal government,” said Dr. Dannenbaum.
The immunization efforts will continue on campus with the Pfizer vaccine.
“While it would have been wonderful to have a single dose vaccine ready for our students, particularly at this point of the semester," Dr. Dannenbaum added. "We can’t do that right now, so we’re going to continue with our vaccination efforts with the Pfizer,”
There is not a clear timeline for this revision process of the J&J vaccine being conducted by the CDC and FDA. Dr. Dannenbaum says, it can take weeks to possibly months, but there is a sense of urgency to provide the public with answers.
”I think there’s the urgency because we do an effective single-dose option for a variety of reasons, it’s good for populations that are transient, who may not be able to come back for a second dose,” said Dr. Dannenbaum.
For example, students who are near the end of their spring semester, planning to go home for the summer, may not have the opportunity to return to campus and receive their second dose.
”Having options is very helpful and having three options gives our state the ability to move allocations to different areas of the state, depending on the different needs of that area,” Dr. Dannenbaum shared.
J&J is the only one-dose option of all three COVID-19 vaccines approved and this makes a big difference for a variety of populations.
According to the CDC, it takes about two weeks for these symptoms related to clotting to appear. They have also released similarities in the cases under review. All have involved women from ages 18 to 48.
For now, faculty and staff can continue to make appointments with the student health center to receive a Pfizer vaccine as they wait to hear back from the appropriate authorities if they can move forward with J&J or if it’s been recalled.