YSU follows federal advice, pausing J&J vaccine clinics

Students jumped at the chance to get vaccinated at the Youngstown State University vaccine clinics, which began in April. We brought friends to tag along for moral support and family members to get in line for our first Moderna jabs, too.

The Youngstown City Health Department had to make the difficult, but ethical, decision to shut down the Johnson & Johnson vaccine clinic scheduled for April 13 and 20. The clinics at YSU, Southern Park Mall and Covelli Centre were canceled. The city of Youngstown and the university responded quickly when the Food and Drug Administration released a statement regarding concerns for potential side effects, like blood clots. 

A lot of people are wondering what they should do if they already received the Johnson & Johnson dose. After 185 million doses of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines have been administered in the nation, there have been no reports of blood clots. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a statement Tuesday stating over 6.8 million doses had been administered in the country. Six cases have been reported in the nation where individuals developed a rare blood clot (CVST) after receiving the vaccine. The CDC said these cases are extremely rare, but they acted quickly “out of an abundance of caution” and recommended pausing administration of the vaccine nationwide. The FDA is investigating the six cases and their significance to others. 

The European Union and Africa also paused administration of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. According to the BBC, Africa was the first nation to administer it. In South Africa, 300,000 health workers received the vaccine. These and other nations seem to be following the United States’ lead on what to do next. 

Johnson & Johnson released the following statement, saying it shared “all adverse event reports” with the health officials.

“We are aware that thromboembolic events, including those with thrombocytopenia have been reported with Covid-19 vaccines. At present, no clear causal relationship has been established between these rare events and the Janssen (J&J) COVID-19 vaccine.”

Young women are at a higher risk for blood clots, according to an article by Business Insider, because of the use of hormonal birth control. Women between the ages of 18 and 48 who are on “the pill” or who are pregnant are automatically at a higher risk due to estrogen levels. However, there have been no efforts to regulate birth control, even though it also has these negative risks. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration “estimates that between 3 and 9 out of 10,000 women who take certain birth control pills will develop a blood clot each year,” according to Business Insider reporters. 

YSU’s organization throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has been cohesive, as seen through the effectiveness of the recent first vaccine clinic. Making an appointment only took a few minutes. Participants were kept a safe distance away from each other in Beeghly Center, which was a convenient location to get the free vaccine without any hassle. They kept participants in the gym for 15 minutes after the vaccination so anyone who had a bad immediate reaction could be helped. 

In two weeks, the students and family members who received their first dose of Moderna will get their final shot. It’ll take time for the CDC and the FDA to review the cases of CVST, but hopefully the science prevails and the plan to get as many people safely vaccinated as possible will still be an attainable goal.