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COVID Q&A: What's the Story About the Johnson & Johnson Vaccine?

There’s been a lot on the news this week regarding the U.S. pausing use of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) COVID-19 vaccine. According to the CDC, this is what we know right now:

  • The pause is being made out of an abundance of caution – of the nearly 7 million doses administered in the U.S., a small number of cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot have been reported. All reports occurred in women between the ages of 18 and 48, with symptoms occurring six to 13 days after vaccination.

  • The pause means that CDC and FDA recommend this vaccine not be given to anyone until we know more. This gives scientists a chance to review the data and decide if recommendations on who should get the vaccine need to change.

  • There have been no cases reported among people who received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.

Q What if you’ve gotten the J&J shot?

  • If you got this vaccine more than three weeks ago, your risk of developing a blood clot is very low.

  • If you got this vaccine within the last three weeks, your risk of developing a blood clot is also very low. However, you should be on the lookout for possible symptoms of a blood clot:

  • Severe headache

  • Blurred vision

  • Fainting

  • Seizures

  • Pain in your abdomen (chest or stomach)

  • Leg pain or swelling

  • Shortness of breath


Seek immediate medical care if you have any of these symptoms and got the J&J vaccine within the last few weeks.


Q What if you have an appointment for the J&J shot?


If you have an appointment to get the J&J shot, work with your provider to reschedule your appointment to get the vaccine from Pfizer or Moderna. The DCHealth Vaccine Call Center number is 1-855-363-0333.


If you are interested in learning more about the J&J vaccine, check out this article from The New York Times and watch this interview with Dr. Anthony Fauci.


Q Should you still get a COVID-19 vaccine?


If you haven’t gotten vaccinated yet, the CDC says the vaccines available are safe and effective, and recommends you get one as soon as you are eligible. Beginning Monday, April 19th, DC residents 65 and above will have the option to get the vaccine at a walk-up site. Click here to see where the walk-up sites are located. DC residents and workers 16 and up can visitcoronavirus.dc.gov/vaccine to pre-register for a vaccine.

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