Johnson & Johnson halt holds little effect for local vaccination efforts

Nicole Aimone, Editor-in-Chief

On April 13, Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommended agencies pause the use of the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccination after six women developed a rare type of blood clot following vaccination.

Six women reportedly developed severe and rare blood clots called cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) and low platelet levels. The cases reported by women ages 18 to 48 between six to 13 days following receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccination.

Nearly 6.8 million doses of the Janssen vaccine have been administered throughout the US, with only six cases of the blood clotting reported so far.

Some local health officials, such as the Iowa County Health Department have decided to heed state and federal recommendations, and will be discontinuing its use indefinitely.

Iowa County Health Director Debbie Siegenthaler said that less than 5% of vaccinations given in the state are Johnson & Johnson, with 96% being Pfizer or Moderna.

“This pauses the use of a vaccine so a decrease in inventory will affect the number we can vaccinate. While disappointing, safety is our priority, just as it is for the CDC, FDA and DHS,” said Siegenthaler. “The Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines continue to remain extremely safe vaccines. The ICHD encourages everyone eligible to get the vaccine to continue with their vaccination, especially in light of variants.”

The Iowa County health department recommends people who have received a COVID-19 vaccination use V-Safe, a post vaccination symptom tracker that reports vaccine and side effect data to the CDC.

In Richland County, there have been zero doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccination administered, with the health department only receiving doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, according to Angie Rizner, the county’s public information officer.

Similarly, Sauk Prairie Healthcare in Prairie du Sac has only administered doses of the Moderna vaccine, and zero doses of both Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson.

Officials from Sauk County, Upland Hills Health and the Richland Hospital did not respond with comment by press time. If they respond, this story will be updated at