Michigan Pauses Use of J & J Vaccine, Extends Workplace Coronavirus Restrictions

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is asking Michigan providers to temporarily pause the administration of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine in Michigan, based on recommendations from Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

The temporary recommendation is based on six reported U.S. cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot in individuals after receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The adverse reactions appear to be extremely rare, as more than 6.8 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have been administered in the United States as of April 12, with nearly 200,000 of those doses administered in Michigan. 

Vaccine providers across the state have been instructed not to administer this vaccine at this time, while the CDC and FDA review further data and assure that clinicians are identifying and reporting any potential adverse reaction. Clinics that are scheduled to administer Johnson & Johnson vaccine will either reschedule or use a different vaccine. 

“More than 6.8 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have been administered in the U.S., and these adverse events appear to be extremely rare. However, out of an abundance of caution, we are following recommendations from FDA and CDC and pausing the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in Michigan,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health. “As we learn more about this from our federal partners, we will update vaccine providers and Michiganders across the state. We encourage everyone to continue making appointments to be vaccinated with the safe and effective Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines at this time. These vaccines are the way we are going to end this pandemic as quickly as possible and move toward a sense of normalcy.” 

People who have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine who develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination should contact their health care provider. Health care providers are asked to report adverse events to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System at https://vaers.hhs.gov/reportevent.html.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration has also extended workplace coronavirus restrictions for six months. The order requires Michigan employers to prohibit office work that can feasibly be done remotely. The emergency rules could be modified or withdrawn before they expire in October. An advisory group that is assessing a phased return to offices may make recommendations to the governor as soon as next week.  The extension comes amid the current spike in COVID-19 infections in Michigan.