Red River health officials weigh-in on J&J vaccine “pause”

Published: Apr. 13, 2021 at 9:49 PM CDT
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - It has been a chaotic day for the Centers of Disease Control and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration after they asked health officials to pause the use of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. The decision was based off reports after six people developed severe blood clots after receiving the J&J vaccine.

Health officials in the Red River area held press conferences to weigh-in on this latest development.

“Reassure people that it’s been monitored, continued to be monitored but these vaccines are really meeting the standards of safe and effectiveness,” said Sanford Dr. Doug Edwards. “Encourage people to get it.”

“As I said over 6.8 million [J&J] doses, and very rare incidents of side effects.” said Essentia Health Dr. Richard Vetter.

According to Dr. Vetter, the last time he could remember a vaccine was pulled like this, it was back in 1999 with the rotavirus vaccine. It was pulled due to adverse effects that caused bowel obstruction in one of every 12,000 infants.

“Vaccine related side effects are monitored after a product is released just like with any medication that’s released.” said Dr. Vetter.

With the J&J vaccine on the backburner, health officials are going to have to work harder to educate the public on the vaccine. However, with the recent decision by the CDC and the FDA, those on the fence about the vaccine will be tougher to convince.

“I think there are some concerns about that. We have seen concern from individuals being vaccinated for COVID-19 and I think this just raises another concern in some people’s minds around the safety of the products.” said Dr. Vetter.

“Or whatever is the reason is that they’re on the fence is really what determines the kind of education that is needed to fully inform of the the vaccine.” said Fargo Cass Public Health Dir. of Nursing Suzanne Schaefer.

Health officials still stand by the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, and will continue to administer them.

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