Important information about Johnson & Johnson vaccine

Posted Apr 13, 2021

Dear Otterbein Community,

Today, out of abundance of caution, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and State of Ohio health officials recommended a pause in the use of the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccines due to an extremely rare reaction to the vaccine. The Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine is what the State of Ohio has been distributing to universities, including Otterbein, and, accordingly, our vaccination program has been paused as we await further instructions.

The CDC and FDA recommendation was made based on six cases of a rare type of blood clot that occurred in women between the ages of 18 and 48 within six to 13 days after vaccination. More than 6.8 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have been administered in the United States, so the occurrence rate is less than one per 1 million. The CDC and FDA are doing a review of the vaccine and these cases and will provide additional recommendations as soon as possible.

Otterbein has received 2,400 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine from the State of Ohio and on April 8 and 9, Otterbein held vaccine clinics where 712 members of the Otterbein community received vaccine. No additional clinics will be scheduled until we receive further guidance from public health officials.

Those who received the vaccine should self-monitor for the following abnormal symptoms for three weeks after receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine: severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath. (Please note: Flu-like symptoms are common after receiving any COVID-19 vaccine, including fatigue, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever, nausea, and injection site swelling, pain, or rash.)

If you experience any of the abnormal symptoms listed above, contact the Student Health Center or your personal healthcare provider. If symptoms occur after hours or on weekends, go to the OhioHealth Westerville Medical Campus, which is open 24 hours and located 1.4 miles from campus at 300 Polaris Parkway. Call 614-533-3000 for information.

Medical professionals are on campus to assist students from 8 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday-Friday:

  • Student Health Center located 78 W. Home St., 614-823-1345 (Monday – Thursday)
  • Covid-19 Testing Center (available for non-testing appointments) located at 172 W. Main St., 614-823-1375 (Friday)

While this side effect is extremely rare, we understand that this news can cause anxiety. If you need to talk to someone, the Counseling Center is prepared to assist you. The Counseling Center is open 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. and located at 146 W. Home St. We also have an after-hours counseling service available to students called ProtoCall. ProtoCall counseling services are available evenings, weekends, and holidays by calling 614-823-1333.

We will share additional information with the campus community as it becomes available.