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J&J hiccup shouldn’t deter shot takers

The Western Tidewater Health District recently joined others in heeding the advice of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Virginia Health Department and Gov. Ralph Northam by pausing use of the Johnson & Johnson Janssen vaccine out of an abundance of caution, as federal health agencies investigated reports of rare but dangerous blood clots in patients who received the single-dose vaccine.

Use of the vaccine has since resumed after a decision made late last week.

It’s important to note that the Johnson & Johnson Janssen vaccine has not been proven so far to cause the blood clots. We encourage our readers to focus on the significant benefits of the state’s vaccination program, with populations where there are high vaccination rates showing dramatically fewer coronavirus ­cases, hospitalizations and deaths.

This hiccup should not deter anyone from receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. Safe and effective vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer are still available.

In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration have stated they believe the known and potential benefits of the Johnson & Johnson Janssen vaccine outweigh known and potential risks. However, women younger than 50 years old should be aware of the rare but increased risk and seek care if they develop severe or persistent headaches or blurred vision, shortness of breath, chest pain, leg swelling, persistent abdominal pain or easy bruising after they receive the Johnson & Johnson Janssen vaccine. Women should call their doctor if they have any concerns.

About 184,000 Johnson & Johnson doses had been administered in Virginia before the pause.

Nationwide, more than 7 million J&J shots have been given, the vast majority causing no or mild side effects.

Besides protecting yourself from the disease, another incentive to get vaccinated is that widespread vaccination will accelerate the lifting of capacity restrictions at most businesses and remove social distancing restrictions and curfews on bars and restaurants.

Do your part to help reopen the state and get vaccinated.