Department of Public Health halts Johnson & Johnson vaccine distribution

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MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT)– The FDA, CDC, and Georgia Department of Public Health urge all medical facilities and distribution sites to stop administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

This comes after six women became sick from a rare blood clot disorder and low platelet count, 6 to 13 days after receiving a dose. One of the women died, and another is in critical condition.

The Georgia Department of Public Health has put all Johnson & Johnson vaccines on hold.

Atrium Health Navicent in Macon has already distributed 45 doses of the vaccine. Chief Medical Officer of Atrium Health Navicent, Dr. Patrice Walker, says although there have been around 6.8 million people to receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine nationwide, she’s glad the CDC was able to find potential risks early on.

“The fact that they were able to pick up on a safety signal means the process is working,” Walker stated.

The Medicine Stop in Warner Robins, says they have seen a lot of interest in the single shot vaccine, and have given several doses.

Pharmacy owner Dhara Patel, says her pharmacy just got shipments, and have already administered around 150 doses.

“I called the Health Department to follow up and make sure it was still okay to administer it yesterday,” Patel explained. “They said everything was okay, and then first thing this morning they recommended that everyone stop giving it for now and I agree until we know a little bit more about the vaccine.”

The Medicine Stop says they have only received a few complaints about side effects like sore arm or a rash, which is common in all three vaccines.

However, Dr. Walker says if you are experiencing stroke-like symptoms after receiving the vaccine, seek medical help immediately.

“That includes headache, blurry vision, potentially the loss of a function of a limb, or seizures, and even passing out. If anyone experienced those symptoms, and depending on the severity of those symptoms, I would suggest calling 911 or going to the emergency room.”

The CDC is researching to find a connection between the vaccine and the blood clot disorder. There is no word on when the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be administered again.

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Peyton Lewis is a 20-year-old reporter from Stockbridge, Georgia. She graduated in December of 2019 with her Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from the University of Georgia. She found a love for reporting after receiving a video camera for her 8th birthday. She and her friends would make mock newscasts in her backyard other creative content. Peyton's love for writing and creating videos pushed her to pursue journalism. In order to kick-start her dream of being a reporter, she left the traditional high school experience at the age of 16 to attend Gordon State College as a full-time student. She graduated with her Associate's degree two weeks before graduating from high school. Previously, Peyton worked as a news intern for 11 Alive in Atlanta, a radio intern for the Joy FM, and a reporter/ technical manager for Grady Newsource. Peyton dreams to become an investigative reporter that leaves a lasting impact on the world around her. She loves Disney, dogs, spicy food, musicals, and her family. Peyton also enjoys reading, watching movies, cheering on the Dawgs, and going on new adventures.