Virginia woman's death is part of Johnson & Johnson investigation

Posted at 6:47 PM, Apr 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-13 19:22:11-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- The death of a Virginia woman who received a Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine is part of the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) investigation into the vaccine's side effects.

The 45-year-old woman died in mid-March, according to a federal database, shortly after she received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

No additional details about the woman, nor her death, were released.

The CDC and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) called for a pause on the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine after six, of the more than seven million Americans who received the vaccine, developed blood clots within about two weeks of vaccination.

Virginia is among the states pausing the administration of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

State vaccine coordinator Dr. Danny Avula said while that pause would have an impact in Virginia.

"We have about 30 events that amounted to about 72,000 doses of Johnson and Johnson that were scheduled for administration this week that we are now postponing," Dr. Avula said.

Avula called the blood clotting issue "exceedingly rare" and the pause showed how important it was to maintain public trust in the vaccine.

"The establishment of a unique pattern certainly warrants more investigation. And I think it's in both the public's and the government's best interest to really thoroughly research that," he said.

The impacted vaccination clinics would either be rescheduled or organizers would swap out the Johnson & Johnson vaccine with either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. Mobile vaccination teams, that were reliant on Johnson & Johnson vaccine, would stop pending the results of the federal investigation.

Avula said Johnson & Johnson accounted for less than 15-percent of the administered vaccine this week and added while the pause could last days or weeks -- it won't impact Virginia's move into Phase 2 this Sunday.

"What it will do is slow down the progress through Phase 2," he said. "We will not be able to have quite as many appointments available for first services next week and beyond."

Anyone who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and develop a severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination should contact their doctor.

The CDC will meet Wednesday, April 14, to review the cases.