The one-shot option is, at least temporarily, off the table.
Discussing the CDC’s and FDA’s pausing of use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, State Health Officer Thomas Dobbs said an adverse reaction involving blood clotting appears to affect less than one in a million people.
“This is a rare and uncommon syndrome where folks will have venous clots within the veins of the brain and of the head,” he said. “Of these six cases, all have been female and ages were 18 to 48. These were also associated with low platelet levels.”
All had received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine between six and 13 days prior to the onset of symptoms.
The clotting may also occur in the abdomen. One death occurred among the six people known to be affected, he said.
Symptoms of the reaction are severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain and shortness of breath.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine, coming into use after Pfizer and Moderna, has been minimally present in Mississippi thus far.
“It’s important to know that we are not using the Johnson & Johnson for our drive-throughs,” said Dobbs. “We are doing some specialty clinics using Johnson & Johnson in certain hard-to-reach areas, but most of this has gone to the private community clinics and hospitals.”
About 42,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have been given in the state thus far out of about 1.48 million total vaccinations. Fifty-four percent went to women and 65 percent went to ages 50 and older.
None of the six cases occurred in Mississippi.
“We’ve not seen severe side effects or adverse events related to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in Mississippi,” said State Epidemiologist Paul Byers.
About 40,000 J&J doses not yet administered are on hand in the state.
With increasing vaccine availability, people are generally able to get drive-through appointments within the same week. And the number of pharmacies and clinics where vaccines are available in area counties has seen some increase in the last few weeks.
The following providers received vaccine distributions for the week of April 11, according to the Mississippi State Department of Health:
n Corinth: Magnolia Regional Health Center (administered at Northeast at Corinth), Kroger, Walmart, Walgreens, Gunn Drug Co.
n Iuka: Iuka Medical Clinic, Rushing Drug Company, The Segars Clinic, Iuka Discount Drugs
n Booneville: Booneville Medical Clinic, Smith Drug & Home Medical, Cox-Blythe Drug Company
n Walnut: Duncan’s Pharmacy
n Tishomingo: Tishomingo Health Services, Inc.
n Ripley: Family Care Clinic of Ripley, Tippah County Health Clinic