The CDC Centers for Disease Control and the Virginia Department of Health now recommend the Pfizer and Moderna COVID vaccines over Johnson & Johnson.
Virginia Health Commissioner Doctor Norm Oliver says the recommendation is out of an abundance of caution after cases of rare but serious blood clots. 54 Americans, mostly women, have been hospitalized with blood clots after getting the Johnson & Johnson shot, nine of whom have died. Symptoms of clotting like severe headaches, back pain and nausea usually begin within 14 days of receiving the vaccine.
Doctor Oliver says those who felt fine after getting the J & J should take comfort in knowing the vaccine is effective in the fight against COVID.
“People who got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are protected. It is effective against the Delta variant, it’s effective against the Omicron variant,” said Oliver. He doesn’t advise getting it again for your booster, however.
As many Virginians get ready to travel for family gatherings over the holidays with the Omicron variant surging across the U.S., Oliver recommends staying outdoors as much as weather permits.
“If you are inside, you should mask. You want to make sure that those rooms are well ventilated,” said Oliver
According to Oliver, there’s only been a couple of identified cases of the Omicron in the Commonwealth.
Doctor Oliver’s days as Health Commissioner appear to be numbered. Governor-Elect Glenn Youngkin has vowed to fire the Commissioner day one. Oliver says he has not yet met Youngkin, but has met with his transition team.
Dr. Oliver says that his meeting with the transition team focused on continuing the state’s push to get more Virginians vaccinated. The governor-elect is fully vaccinated, and announced he got his booster earlier this month.