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ICYMI: State Department of Health tells providers to halt Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine

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North Dakota health officials are urging COVID-19 vaccine providers in the state to pause the use of the Johnson & Johnson shots.

This after the CDC and the FDA both say a rare type of blood clot has been reported in six people who received the vaccine.

All six cases occurred among women between the age of 18 and 48.

One died and one is currently in the hospital, in critical condition.

Right now, there has not been a case in North Dakota but Immunization Director Molly Howell is advising those who got the J&J shot in the last three weeks to watch for symptoms.

“We want you to know the warning signs of CBST. They include headache, abdominal pain, leg pain and or shortness of breath. If you experience any of these symptoms we’re encouraging you to contact your health care provider and seek medical attention immediately,” explained Howell.

The CDC will be holding an advisory committee meeting Wednesday to discuss the six cases and the next steps.

The North Dakota Department of Health is advising all healthcare providers to mark their doses as “do not use” until the investigation is over.

The department is providing replacement doses of Pfizer and Moderna throughout the state to help stay on track with vaccinations.

Health officials say as cases continue to rise, 79 variants have been identified in North Dakota over the last week.

And, they are finding that the variants are not due to travel, but contracted in the state.

“There are 234 cases reported today. That’s up 836 percent from the 25 that were reported just about a month ago on March 14th. You know our trend is not the right way in North Dakota,” explained Kirby Kruger, the Director of Disease Control for the NDDOH.

FDA officials emphasized that the pause is a recommendation, not a mandate — adding that individual health care providers would not be stopped from administering the vaccine to patients if they determine the benefits outweigh the risks.

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