Joint CDC and FDA Statement on Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine, Maryland Halting Use of Vaccine

April 13, 2021

As of April 12, more than 6.8 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen ) vaccine have been administered in the U.S. CDC and FDA are reviewing data involving six reported U.S. cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot in individuals after receiving the J&J vaccine.

In these cases, a type of blood clot called cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) was seen in combination with low levels of blood platelets (thrombocytopenia).

All six cases occurred among women between the ages of 18 and 48, and symptoms occurred 6 to 13 days after vaccination. Treatment of this specific type of blood clot is different from the treatment that might typically be administered. Usually, an anticoagulant drug called heparin is used to treat blood clots. In this setting, administration of heparin may be dangerous, and alternative treatments need to be given.

CDC will convene a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) on Wednesday to further review these cases and assess their potential significance. FDA will review that analysis as it also investigates these cases. Until that process is complete, we are recommending a pause in the use of this vaccine out of an abundance of caution. This is important, in part, to ensure that the health care provider community is aware of the potential for these adverse events and can plan for proper recognition and management due to the unique treatment required with this type of blood clot.

Right now, these adverse events appear to be extremely rare. COVID-19 vaccine safety is a top priority for the federal government, and we take all reports of health problems following COVID-19 vaccination very seriously.

People who have received the J&J 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 icon.

CDC and FDA will provide additional information and answer questions later today at a media briefing. A recording of that media call will be available on the FDA’s YouTube channel.

The Charles County Health Department released the following statement.

“In Partnership with the Charles County Department of Health – The Charles County Department of Health is pausing the administration of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines on the recommendation of the Maryland Department of Health, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

There have been no similar side effects with Moderna or Pfizer vaccine. The Charles County Department of Health will continue to provide Moderna vaccines as scheduled.

“COVID-19 infection is still high in Charles County and in the State of Maryland,” said Charles County Health Officer Dianna E. Abney, M.D. “As we continue to see infections, hospitalizations, and deaths from COVID-19, I encourage residents to continue to get vaccinated. Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are safe and effective.”

For information on vaccine availability throughout the State of Maryland at mass vaccinations, retail pharmacies, and other local clinics, visit or call 1-855-MDGOVAX. Citizens with special needs may contact the Maryland Relay Service at 711, or Relay Service TDD: 800-735-2258.”