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After a pause to review further benefits and risks of the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has voted to recommend a continuation of the J&J vaccine without restrictions. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have approved moving forward once again with this third vaccine option. This comes after a rare blood clotting disorder was found in a reported 15 individuals who received the vaccine, with the majority of cases occurring in women 18-49.

The vaccine is available for persons 18 and older and is safe and effective against COVID-19. The risk of developing this disorder is rare at approximately 7 in 1 million for women in that age group. For women 50 and older, and for men, the risk is 1 in a million.

Tennessee is excited and hopeful to get this third vaccine option back into use and has notifed all providers that they may resume administration of the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.

“Women between the ages of 18 and 49 years should weigh the risk of the vaccine with its benefits when deciding to receive the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine versus the mRNA vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna, which have not been associated with this rare blood clotting disorder, ” says the Tennessee Department of Health.

According to the CDC, “The J&J/Janssen vaccine was 66.3% effective in clinical trials (efficacy) at preventing laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 illness in people who had no evidence of prior infection 2 weeks after receiving the vaccine. People had the most protection 2 weeks after getting vaccinated.”

The CDC recommends those who get the J&J vaccine watch for three weeks for severe headaches, shortness of breath, chest pain, leg swelling, persistent abdominal pain, easy bruising or tiny blood spots. If you experience these symptoms, seek medical care immediately. For information on who should and should not get vaccinated, as well as possible side effects, see CDC recommendations here.

Individuals seeking a COVID-19 vaccine appointment can visit covid19.tn.gov or vaccines.gov to schedule an appointment with a local vaccine provider.