Apr 14, 2021 - News

How the J&J vaccine pause impacts Iowa

Illustration of a shadow hovering over a giant red button with syringes in the shape of a pause symbol

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Federal and state recommendations to pause using the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine have complicated Iowa’s pandemic recovery.

Why it matters: The single-dose vaccine was critical in helping inoculate communities that are sometimes difficult to reach or schedule for two shots, including college students and homeless populations.

  • The suspension comes after six recipients (out of nearly seven million) experienced blood clotting within two weeks of vaccination.
  • A CDC advisory committee will convene today to review the cases and their potential significance.
  • What to watch: J&J recipients who develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness of breath within three weeks should contact their doctor.

It’s too early to fully assess the local ramifications since the majority of vaccines provided in the DSM area have been Moderna or Pfizer, Polk County Health Department spokesperson Nola Aigner Davis told Axios.

  • DMACC and UNI postponed or canceled clinics that were supposed to be held yesterday using J&J. Students may have an option in coming days to get one of the two-dose vaccines. (KCCI-TV)
  • Hy-Vee and CVS cancelled J&J appointments yesterday. (Des Moines Register)
  • Dallas County Health Department swapped J&J for Moderna for a clinic yesterday. (Des Moines Register)

Some good news: Finding an appointment in the metro for Moderna and Pfizer has been getting easier in recent days, Aigner Davis told Jason.

  • Iowa Facebook users will this week start to see an alert in their feed that connects them with vaccine appointment information, Erica Woods, a state policy manager told Axios.

This story first appeared in the Axios Des Moines newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard.


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