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What to know if you've already received Johnson & Johnson vaccine, after distribution pause

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is now halted due to a small number of adverse reactions. Here's what those who have taken it should know.

SUMTER, S.C. — Kevin Miller received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine about a month ago.

So, he said news that distribution was brought to a halt Tuesday after a small number of blood clots was concerning.

“Alarmed; very alarmed,” Miller said. “You know, especially after you just received that same vaccine.”

While he experienced no serious symptoms, if he had to ask a doctor, he said, “I would probably ask my doctor… check me and see if I got any blood clots.”

RELATED: US recommends 'pause' for J&J COVID vaccine after 6 blood clot reports

So, how likely are you to experience this issue from the Johnson & Johnson vaccine? Experts say it’s not likely.

“The likelihood that you will get a clot from COVID is several thousand times higher actually than getting it from the vaccine,” Dr. Helmut Albrecht, the Medical Director of the Center of Infectious Disease Research and Policy at Prisma Health and the University of South Carolina (USC), said. “Just to keep it in perspective.”

While “extremely rare,” Dr. Anne Schuchat, the Principal Deputy Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said there are some signs to look for.

“For people who got the vaccine more than a month ago, the risk to them is very low at this time. For people who recently got the vaccine within the last couple weeks, they should be aware and look for symptoms,” Dr. Schuchat said. “If you’ve received the vaccine and developed severe headaches, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath, you should contact your healthcare provider and seek medical treatment.”

Credit: Kayland Hagwood, Zoom
Dr. Helmut Albrecht

RELATED: Sumter pharmacy cancels appointments after J&J vaccine "paused"

One positive, Dr. Albrecht said, is this type of blood clot can be treated by a doctor.

“We have treatments,” Albrecht said. “It’s a little different than treating other blood clots…but we know how to do this, so if this is detected we can reverse this.”

Overall, Miller said he feels okay about the shot and, if allowed to be distributed again, he hopes others won’t be deterred.

“Let’s give it a chance,” Miller said.

Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are still available. To find one near you visit the S.C. Dept. of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) online.

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