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A North Carolina county paused COVID-19 vaccines at a local immunization site on Thursday after 18 people had “adverse” reactions to Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose shot — after a site in Colorado did the same thing a day earlier.
Wake County halted vaccine operations at the PNC Arena in Raleigh following the incidents “out of an abundance of caution,” officials said.
More than 2,300 Johnson & Johnson vaccinations were administered at the clinic Thursday and EMS evaluated 18 patients, Wake County said.
Fourteen of those people had “minor reactions” and were treated on site, while four others were taken to area hospitals for evaluation. They were expected to be released.
“Wake County made the decision to pause today in partnership with the NC Department of Health and Human Services and after consulting with the manufacturer,” the county said. “Together, these teams continue to investigate the issue.”
The county noted that more than 4.5 million have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine nationally and that “the reactions people experienced today were consistent with known common side effects from receiving the vaccine.”
“We know it can be alarming to hear about or see people having reactions to vaccination – this is why we closely monitor those we vaccinate in case of reaction,” Wake County Public Health’s Medical Director Kim McDonald said.
“Right now we are working with NCDHHS and the CDC to further evaluate the situation to assure everyone is confident in the continued safety of our vaccine operations.”
Less than two hours of appointments were left at the PNC Arena when officials made the decision to pause vaccinations. Remaining appointment holders were offered the two-dose Pfizer vaccine or had the opportunity to reschedule.
Wake County plans to hold and store any Johnson & Johnson vaccine until additional information is collected.
The news came a day after a coronavirus vaccination site in Colorado shut down operations Wednesday after around a dozen people also suffered adverse reactions — including nausea and dizziness — to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
More than 1,700 people were given shots at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, the Denver Gazette reported.
In the aftermath of the reports Johnson & Johnson said in a statement that it was “collecting the necessary information, including from the local vaccination center, to assess these reports.”
“There is no greater priority than the safety and well-being of the people we serve, and we carefully review reports of adverse events in individuals receiving our medicines and vaccines,” the statement said.
“Any report about individuals receiving our COVID-19 vaccine and our assessment of that report is shared with the US Food and Drug Administration and other appropriate health authorities.”
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