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Ohio colleges will switch vaccines or pause program after rare reactions to Johnson & Johnson

Ohio University
Posted at 4:32 PM, Apr 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-13 16:36:33-04

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio college and universities that are still actively vaccinating their students will switch to one of the other vaccines or halt vaccinations this week after the state ordered a pause of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine due to rare adverse reactions.

For the most part, Ohio has allocated the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to the 63 public and private four-year institutions around the state last week for their student vaccination programs, to allow students to get their shot before summer vacation in May, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine said Tuesday.

“The good news is that many of them finished that vaccination last week,” DeWine said. “There are some, however, that did not finish it, and that are now paused.”

Many of the colleges reported that all students who wanted a vaccine were able to get one last week, but some of the state’s larger universities were not able to complete their programs last week, and were continuing this week, DeWine said.

DeWine listed the Ohio colleges that will proceed with the Pfizer vaccine while the J&J distribution is paused:

  • University of Cincinnati
  • Ohio University
  • University of Toledo
  • Wright State University

Ohio Northern University’s mobile clinic will proceed with the Moderna vaccine.

The following sites will pause vaccinations this week:

  • University of Akron
  • Kent State University
  • Ohio University Mobile Clinic
  • Bowling Green State University
  • Miami University
  • Cleveland State University (student vaccinations)
  • Youngstown State University

The University of Akron released a statement that reads, in part:

"The University was administering the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, but will pause following the occurrence of extremely rare blood-clotting events involving six people in the United States after receiving the vaccine. Students who already scheduled appointments to receive the vaccine at UA clinics on April 14-15 will receive an email with additional information."

Kent State University is also pausing its vaccination program, and released a statement advising students: "Anyone who had an appointment for a vaccination at one of the Kent State clinics is advised to schedule an appointment for another brand of vaccine (Moderna or Pfizer) at a different clinic, including those operated by the Portage County Combined General Health District on Tuesdays at the Kent State Field House, or one located near your Regional Campus."

DeWine said that students at a campus that had to pause its vaccination program may have to arrange to get the vaccination on their own at an off-campus site. While he admitted that it’s not ideal to have students leave their campuses, most institutions have already vaccinated their students.

DeWine said Tuesday the decision to pause the J&J vaccine is temporary and based off a call with the White House this morning. It is expected to last for days or weeks, not weeks or months, while a full investigation of adverse effects is undertaken by the FDA and CDC.

Since the start of the state’s vaccination distribution process, a total of 264,311 J&J vaccines have been administered in Ohio, DeWine said.

Of the nearly 7 million Americans who have received the J&J vaccine so far, six women between the ages of 18 and 48 have developed severe blood clots within six to 13 days after receiving the dose.

Those who have already received the vaccine should look for symptoms that include headache, change in vision, shortness of breath, swelling or pain in lower extremities and consistent nausea and vomiting, said Ohio Department of Health Medical Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff.

“That’s when they should call their medical provider,” he said. “If they don’t have a regular medical provider, they should seek medical care at either an urgent care or an emergency room and they should let the provider know that they have recently received the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, but if they’re not having any of those symptoms, they shouldn’t worry.”