(ABC4) – On Tuesday, the FDA and CDC called for a pause on the administration of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines in order to investigate reports of potentially dangerous blood clots.
According to a joint statement, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration said they are investigating clots in six women that occurred in the days after vaccination. The clots were observed along with reduced platelet counts — making the usual treatment for blood clots, the blood thinner heparin, potentially “dangerous.”
In total, over 8.6 million doses of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine have been administered in the U.S.
Officials say COVID-19 vaccines manufactured by Pfizer and Moderna are not affected by this investigation.
While officials investigate these blood clots, those who have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are wondering – what should I do?
The FDA and CDC are recommending that those who have gotten this vaccine monitor themselves for three weeks after receiving the shot. If you experience any of these side effects, you are encouraged to contact your healthcare provider:
- Severe headache
- Abdominal pain
- Leg pain
- Shortness of breath
The CDC has already confirmed that some side effects from any of the currently available COVID-19 vaccines are normal – they could be signs that your body is building immunity. Common side effects include pain and swelling in the arm that got the shot, as well as fever, chills, fatigue, and even headaches.
In regards to the two-shot vaccines – Pfizer and Moderna – the CDC says that if you have an allergic reaction to the first dose, you should not receive the second.
“If you are worried about anything else (like an underlying medical condition) or if you had an allergic reaction to a different vaccine, we recommend you talk with your doctor,” Jenny Johnson, Public Information Officer for the Utah Department of Health, says.
What else should I know about the vaccine?
There have been a lot of questions about the vaccine and what you can do before or after getting your shot. Here are a few frequently-asked-questions, answered:
Can I travel again after getting the vaccine?
If you have been fully vaccinated, the CDC says you can resume travel at “low risk” of getting or spreading COVID-19. Because of this, those who are fully vaccinated with either the Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson vaccine can travel safely within the U.S. without getting tested before or after travel – unless their destination requires it – and they do not need to self-quarantine.
How long will the vaccine protect me?
New research suggests the protection the Moderna vaccine gives against COVID-19 lasts for at least six months. Research on the Pfizer vaccine has found the same results. Both vaccines have only been available in the U.S. for six months.
Can I take medication before getting the vaccine?
The CDC recommends that people avoid pain medicine like Tylenol or Ibuprofen prior to getting the vaccine. The chance that over-the-counter medications will affect your immune response is unlikely, the Utah Department of Health says, but it is still not known for sure if they can impact the vaccine’s effectiveness.
Why does the second COVID-19 vaccine dose have more side effects than the first?
It’s widely known that the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccines tend to come with more side effects than the first, including tiredness, headaches, chills, fever, nausea and muscle pain. With the first dose, your body begins building its initial immune response, including producing antibodies.
But with the second shot — a.k.a. the second exposure to the virus — “the big guns” of your immune system react.
How long should I wait to get the vaccine after having the virus?
According to Jenny Johnson, Public Information Officer with the Utah Department of Health, people who have had COVID-19 can safely be vaccinated.
The only “rule” about being vaccinated after being infected with the virus, she says, is that people must have completed the quarantine period and be symptom-free.
“There is no reason why someone should not get the vaccine after being infected,” Johnson says.
Can I donate blood after receiving the vaccine?
You can, but the American Red Cross says it is important to note which type of vaccine you got.