ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — There are no known cases in Minnesota of the “exceedingly rare” blood clot side effects from the Johnson & Johnson vaccine federal regulators are investigating, Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said Tuesday, but the state is advising providers to follow federal guidance and pause administration of the single-dose shot.
The state’s top public health official also said she does not believe that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s review of the blood clots, found in six women out of 6.8 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine administered, will take long or significantly disrupt Minnesota’s vaccine rollout.READ MORE: Hospitality Industry Getting Creative To Quickly Attract Staff As Restrictions Lift
She expects more information in a matter of days, “not weeks or months.”
“We do appreciate the thoroughness of this process. This is the way this process is supposed to work,” said Malcolm at the FEMA-sponsored mass vaccination site at the state fairgrounds. “I think there’s a strong desire to make sure we understand as much as we can about who might be at risk for those exceedingly rare side effects so that people know what to watch out for and health care providers know how to respond.”
Just 184,000 of the state’s residents have had the “one and done” vaccine out of the more than 3.4 million total shots administered here. More than 2.1 million people in the state have had at least one shot and 1.4 million have completed their vaccinations, according to state data.
Minnesota was only expecting to receive 9,600 doses of Johnson & Johnson this week. If Minnesotans were scheduled for an appointment, wait for guidance from your provider about cancellations and rescheduling, Malcolm told reporters.
The CDC and FDA will evaluate the six cases of a blood clot called cerebral venous sinus thrombosis found in women ages 18 to 48. The side effect represents a fraction of 1% of total Johnson & Johnson doses administered in the United States—a risk that’s less than one in a million, as Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious diseases doctor, noted.READ MORE: COVID In MN: MDH Reports 810 New Cases, 7 Deaths
Still, Malcolm said, Minnesotans should monitor their symptoms in the coming weeks.
“If you experience symptoms including severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness of breath within three weeks of getting the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, we want you to check it out with your health care provider,” she said.
The White House and state health officials do not believe that the move to at least temporarily halt Johnson & Johnson vaccine distribution will drastically slow the pace of vaccinations.
Meanwhile, the COVID-19 variant first discovered in the U.K. is circulating in Minnesota and across the country, adding urgency to the vaccine rollout.
Gov. Tim Walz has recently loosened some restrictions on the economy and has said he will adjust accordingly if hospital beds near full capacity.MORE NEWS: COVID In MN: Community Vaccination Sites Now Accepting Walk-In Appointments
The state is nearing half the adult population with at least one dose of the vaccine, with 48% of people 16 and older having at least one shot.