Doctors work to instill vaccine confidence as Milwaukee County, city halt J&J vaccine

NOW: Doctors work to instill vaccine confidence as Milwaukee County, city halt J&J vaccine

MILWAUKEE, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Milwaukee County and the city are halting the use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine while the potential adverse effects are investigated.

The Centers for Disease Control and U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a statement on Tuesday, April 13 saying six cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot called cerebral venous sinus thrombosis have been reported in the U.S. out of 6.8 million Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses given.

The vaccine is being halted at sites like the Kosciuszko Community Center, Milwaukee County House of Corrections and the Milwaukee County Jail, Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley announced during a media briefing Tuesday.

"Don't let today's Johnson & Johnson news alarm you," Crowley said. "This is a one-in-a-million chance when you think about these blood clots. We know that in order to crush COVID, we have to get this vaccine in order to get to a place of normalcy."

County leaders said they're pausing the use of the vaccine following state and federal guidance. They hope it's a brief pause.

"I would say that we do not need to be concerned about vaccines. I still would encourage any family member, any friend anybody at all to get the vaccine. And right now, Moderna and Pfizer is readily available in our community," said Dr. Ben Weston, director of medical services for the Milwaukee County Office of Emergency Management.

City officials said the Milwaukee Health Department has administered an estimated 61,000 Pfizer doses, 20,000 Moderna doses and 1,865 Johnson & Johnson doses.

Dr. Matt Anderson, senior medical director of primary care at UW Health, said the other vaccine manufacturers are still safe and effective.

"This (news) really has nothing to do with Moderna and Pfizer, and so we should continue to feel very confident moving forward with those," Anderson said.

All six cases of the rare blood clots happened among women between the ages of 18 and 48. The symptoms developed six to 13 days after receiving the vaccine, according to the FDA and CDC.

"If you are young female who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, and you're a week or two out from the vaccine, and you're experiencing severe headaches, abdominal pain like pain or shortness of breath, contact your health care provider," Weston said.

Investigators are still working to learn whether the blood clots were related to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine or are coincidences.

Weston said county health leaders will not destroy the doses they currently have and they will wait for further information.

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