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Spectrum Health discusses decision to suspend J&J Vaccine


Grand Rapids Spectrum Health met virtually with the media discussing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s nationwide suspension of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. 

“This temporary pause is actually a good indication that the safety mechanisms are clearly in place.”

Dr. Liam Sullivan is an infectious disease physician at Grand Rapids’ Spectrum Health. While six women receiving the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine have experienced blood clotting, he says everyone should keep in mind millions of the J&J vaccine have been administered without severe reactions. That includes at Spectrum Health where its distributed roughly 4,400 doses. That’s about 5% of COVID-19 vaccines dispensed.

Full disclosure, Dr. Sullivan was a J&J vaccine trial participant. His advice to other J&J vaccine recipients is to be vigilant. If you received it within the past three weeks and are experiencing headaches, abdominal pain, swelling in one leg, chest pain or trouble breathing seek medical care.

“But if you’re outside of that window and you’re feeling fine and you don’t have any issues then there’s nothing to worry about," said Sullivan. "You’re in the clear and I don’t think there’s any concerns going forward with that.”

While Spectrum Health is halting distribution of the J&J vaccine, it’s clinic schedules will continue uninterrupted.