On Tuesday, the University announced it would pause administration of Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccine based on a recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The CDC and FDA made the joint recommendation out of an abundance of caution after six reported U.S. cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot where found in individuals after receiving the vaccination.
“The finding of abnormal blood clotting is extremely rare in citizens receiving the J&J vaccine, and in response to FDA and CDC guidance, and acting out of a great amount of caution, we will pause vaccinations with the J&J product for now," said Dr. Clay Marsh, vice president and executive dean of WVU Health Sciences, in a press release.
WVU administered 864 doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine at a clinic last week at the Student Rec Center. All other campus vaccination sites administered the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine, according to the statement.
The type of blood clot reported is called cerebral venus sinus thrombosis (CVST) and was seen in combination with low levels of blood platelets, according to the recommendation. The blood clots have only appeared in women between the ages of 18-48, and symptoms appeared six to 13 days after vaccination.
"The fact that CDC and FDA are acting out of caution for 6 clotting episodes in 6.8 million doses given should reassure West Virginia residents that we are watching any and all associated findings in those vaccinated to make sure safety is our priority,” Marsh said.
The CDC held a meeting on Wednesday with the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) to review the cases and address the significance of them. The FDA will analyze those results as well as conduct their own investigation of these cases.
The University will continue to host vaccination clinics at the Rec Center. Students who want to receive a vaccine against COVID-19 can visit WVU’s Return to Campus website for instructions.