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Ohio Clinics Switch Vaccines, But Officials Remain Optimistic

Apr 13, 2021

Some Ohio COVID-19 vaccination clinics are changing vaccines or pausing after the CDC's recommendation Tuesday to halt use of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, but state and health officials remain optimistic the state's vaccination program will continue.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine spent much of the morning on the phone with representatives of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration, as well as state health officials and vaccine providers.  He says the decision to halt the use of the one-shot vaccine that has caused six cases of complications out of 6.8 million doses administered is a temporary one...

"...to help the health community recognize any adverse events related to the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.  also, to report any adverse events, and to manage those events."

DeWine says federal health officials say the delay will be "a matter of days or weeks" not months, and Ohio is encouraging providers to store stocks of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine as clinics pivot to offer Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

State medical director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff says the temporary halt is a sign of strict safety oversight. 

"...that the scientific and medical community is really on this, and watching very closely to ensure that what people are receiving is in fact safe." Columbus Public Health is one of the providers that is switching to the Pfizer vaccine.  Director Dr. Mysheika Roberts says about 8,000 doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine have been administered.  She says the department is reaching out to those who got the shot in the last three weeks advising them to be aware of adverse reactions, beginning with severe headaches:

"...change in their vision, shortness of breath, swelling or any pain in their lower extremities. and if they're having consistent nausea or vomiting that doesn't seem to go away, that's when they should call their medical provider.  If they don't have a regular medical provider, they should seek medical care at either an urgent care or an emergency room."

264,311 doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine have been administered in Ohio, and last week the state distributed the one-shot inoculation to 63 colleges and universities to let students get their shot before the end of the school year.  Governor DeWine says most schools have finished their vaccination program, but those larger schools that had scheduled clinics through next week are going to put them on hold for the time being.