DES MOINES, Iowa – Gov. Kim Reynolds, during Wednesday’s press conference, said that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Food and Drug Administration’s joint announcement about the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine was “sudden and surprising.”
The 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 Johnson & Johnson vaccine. All six cases occurred among women between 18 and 48, and symptoms occurred 6 to 13 days after vaccination. They noted that the adverse events appear to be extremely rare.
“This was a surprising setback set back at a time when our vaccine efforts are showing much progress. And because states weren’t informed and in advance of the announcement, we were left to develop contingency plans in the moment for vaccine clinics scheduled yesterday and throughout the week,” Reynolds said.
She said that the immediate impact of this news should be manageable.
“We’re working to allocate additional vaccine where it’s needed and asked for Iowans’ patience as we finalize these details. So even though Johnson & Johnson doses are on hold right now, we were already planning for a minimal supply over the next few weeks due to the slowdown in manufacturing that had been anticipated,” Reynolds added.
She also encouraged Iowans not to jump to conclusions about the vaccine.
“Nearly 7 million doses of J&J vaccine had been administered in the United States. And at this time, we’re aware of only six cases resulting in the rare blood clots. Currently, the odds of this reaction happening are literally one in 1 million. But because of the serious nature of the reaction, it’s important that we have the information necessary to fully understand the situation, including why it occurred, how to identify the symptoms, and how to prevent it,” Reynolds explained.
Six weeks ago, Reynolds received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. She said she experienced a minor headache and fatigue, mild side effects common with any of the COVID-19 vaccines.
“But I was still able to report to work the next day, and within 24 hours, I was back to feeling 100%. So I’m glad that I did have the opportunity to have the J&J vaccine. I would do it again,” she said.
Reynolds also stated that the vaccines’ reward outweighs the risks and is the best defense against the virus.
According to the state’s COVID-19 dashboard, 1.97 million doses have been administered in the state, with 833,502 being fully vaccinated. Over 1.88 million of those doses have been the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.
Iowa currently has a 14-day positivity rate average of 4.7 percent among Iowans tested for COVID-19 and a seven-day average of 4.6 percent. The state currently has 215 patients hospitalized due to COVID-19, with only 49 in ICU.
Listen to the full press conference below: