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Burlington County Health Department statement on Johnson & Johnson vaccine pause

The following statement is being released by the Burlington County Health Department and Health Department Director Dr. Herb Conaway:

On the morning of April 13, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) alerted the nation’s healthcare institutions of a rare cerebral vein clotting disorder associated with the prior administration of the Johnson & Johnson COVID19 vaccine.  Following the guidance by CDC and the NJ Department of Health, the Burlington County Health Department has paused its administration of Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Of the 6.8 million doses Johnson & Johnson vaccine administered nationally, just six women between the ages of 18 and 48 have been reported as acquiring the rare cerebral vein clotting disorder in the wake of vaccination with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

The Health Department had a limited supply of J&J vaccine, which was being used to vaccinate homebound residents and other vulnerable populations, such as people without homes, families in domestic violence shelters and elderly in underserved communities. Those activities have been suspended while the Department awaits further guidance from national and state health authorities.

The County Health Department has vaccinated about 1,000 people with the J&J vaccine and will be contacting them to alert them of the situation and to seek a medical evaluation if they develop any of the following symptoms: severe headache, leg pain, abdominal pain or shortness of breath within three weeks of being vaccinated.

Currently, the Health Department is not aware of any adverse reactions from Burlington County residents or workers who received the vaccine. The pause is precautionary and will allow the CDC to review all available information and make recommendations for vaccine use going forward. It is our hope that the pause will not impact residents’ confidence in COVID-19 vaccinations.

“COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective and the best weapon we have to bringing an end to the pandemic,” said Burlington County Health Department Director Dr. Herb Conaway. “This pause is out of an abundance of caution and shows the process is working to review all potentially adverse effects of vaccination.”