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Minnesota advises health providers to pause Johnson & Johnson vaccines

Federal health officials have recommended the pause to review treatment of an extremely rare blot clot.

The Minnesota Department of Health has informed state health providers to pause administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, following federal guidance issued by the CDC and FDA on Tuesday.

Federal health officials on Tuesday recommended a pause on the J&J single-shot vaccine "out of an abundance of caution" after six cases of blood clots were found out of the 6.8 million shots administered so far.

The pause is being recommended to give governments time to inform health providers on how to recognize and treat the clots, called cerebral venous sinus thrombosis. 

Treatment for these blood clots is different than treatment for a normal blood clot, and using the typical treatment could be potentially "dangerous," the CDC and FDA said.

In the wake of the announcement, MDH said it would be advising health providers to pause J&J vaccines for now, but can continue administering the Moderna and Pfizer two-shot vaccines, which have led to no reported clotting issues.

Those who have received an appointment to get a J&J vaccine should keep an eye out for a notification from their provider about canceling, postponing, or rescheduling their appointments.

The CDC and FDA said that the six clotting incidents happened in woman aged 18 to 48, with symptoms happening 6-13 days after vaccination.

None of the cases are believed to have come from the 184,000 Minnesotans who have already received the J&J vaccine, which represents 5% of the total number of vaccine doses administered in Minnesota so far.

The pause on the J&J vaccines will remain in place until the CDC and FDA have completed their review processes.

“While this issue appears to be extremely rare, CDC and FDA are acting in a very cautious manner that underscores our commitment to vaccine safety,” said Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said. “We will be closely monitoring the federal review process and use that information to help guide our efforts here in Minnesota in the days ahead.”

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