Virus Outbreak-Johnson Johnson Vaccine

A clinician prepares to administer the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine in September.

A state-ordered pause in distribution of the Johnson and Johnson coronavirus vaccine left more than 122,000 Coloradans who have received the vaccine wondering what they should do next.

The pause, ordered by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment following federal guidance, comes after six cases of blood clots associated with the vaccine were reported nationwide and a week after a small number of adverse effects from the vaccine were reported in Commerce City. Federal officials said Tuesday 6.8 million Johnson & Johnson doses have been administered nationwide.

Officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the federal Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday the Johnson & Johnson pause was intended to educate providers on how to identify and treat the blood clots. The specific clot associated with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine can react poorly to traditional treatment, they said. Officials stressed the clotting was extremely rare and the pause is out of an abundance of caution.

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Here are some answers to questions about what you should do if you've received the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine:

I received my vaccine more than a month ago. Am I at risk for serious side effects?

Residents who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine more than a month ago "are at a very low risk of serious side effects," the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment announced Tuesday.

What are the standard side effects of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine?

The standard side effect of the vaccine is flu-like symptoms. The most commonly reported side effects are:

  • Pain, swelling, and redness at the injection site.
  • Pain, tenderness and swelling of the lymph nodes in the same arm of the injection.
  • Fatigue.
  • Headache.
  • Muscle pain.
  • Chills.
  • Joint pain.
  • Nausea/vomiting.
  • Fever.

People may experience mild to moderate side effects after receiving the vaccine, and side effects typically go away on their own after a few days, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment's COVID-19 Vaccine frequently asked questions webpage, covid19.colorado.gov/vaccine-faq.

Different people may experience different side effects, even if they receive the same vaccine, according to the website. Additionally, the process of building immunity to the virus can cause symptoms.

"These symptoms are normal and show your body's immune system is responding to the vaccine," the website states. "Other routine vaccines, like the flu vaccine, have similar side effects."

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What are the warning signs of adverse reactions to the Johnson & Johnson one-dose vaccine?

Warning signs of adverse reactions include severe headache, abdominal and leg pain, as well as shortness of breath, CDC and FDA officials said.

What should I do if I'm experiencing these symptoms?

The CDC and FDA recommend people who have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine who develop these symptoms within three weeks after vaccination should contact their health provider immediately.

Health care providers should report adverse events to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System at vaers.hhs.gov/reportevent.html, according to CDC and FDA officials.

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Reporter

Breeanna Jent covers El Paso County government. She previously worked as the editorial assistant for the Pikes Peak Newspapers and joined their sister paper, The Gazette, in 2020.

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