The first 6,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine arrived at Atrium Health today, adding to the enterprise’s supply of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine options.

Coronavirus Updates, Your Health, News | one year ago

Your Questions Answered: Johnson & Johnson Vaccine

Do you have questions about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine? Atrium Health experts respond to some of the most frequently asked questions about possible side effects, upcoming vaccine appointments, and how we’re adhering to the latest CDCFDA and NC Department of Health and Human Services guidance.

Information current as of April 28, 2021

Reviewed for accuracy by Katie Passaretti, MD.

During a brief pause, the CDC and FDA weighed the risks of resuming use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and the risks of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths should they continue to restrict the use of this vaccine. Ultimately, the decision was made that the greater protection to our community is provided by resuming use of the J&J vaccine. 

Following guidance from the CDC, FDA and the NC Department of Health and Human Services, Atrium Health will resume offering the J&J vaccine. Guidance for providers has been updated to include information about additional risk and symptoms to monitor for and how to safely treat and report its rare side effects. We are currently working through plans to determine when and where we will offer the vaccine when it becomes available. Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are still being offered, with appointments currently available at

Out of an abundance of caution, the CDC, FDA and NC Department of Health and Human Services recommended a temporary pause in the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine beginning April 13.

After careful review of all available data, CDC and FDA have concluded that the J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine’s known and potential benefits outweigh its known and potential risks for those who receive it. And as of April 23, 2021, it is recommended that use of the J&J vaccine resume in the United States.

Have questions about what this means and about the safety of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine? Our experts are here to answer your questions.

Should I be worried if I recently received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine?

A very small number of people have experienced a very rare blood clot disorder following vaccination with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. As of April 12, nearly 7 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have been administered in the U.S., and the CDC and FDA have reviewed data involving six reported cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot in individuals that have received the J&J vaccine. All six cases occurred among women between the ages of 18 and 48, and symptoms occurred 6 to 13 days after vaccination.

New CDC and FDA guidelines state that women younger than 50 years old should be aware of the rare but increased risk of this adverse event and that there are other COVID-19 vaccine options available for which this risk has not been seen.

These developments should provide some reassurance that all vaccines are continually monitored by the CDC and FDA to ensure the safety of their use. While these serious reactions to the J&J vaccine are less than one per million of J&J vaccines administered, they are all fully investigated to ensure and confirm the safe use of each vaccine.

What should I be looking for if I recently received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine?

A review of all available data at this time shows that the J&J vaccine’s known and potential benefits outweigh its known and potential risks for those recommended to receive it. However, those who have received the J&J vaccine and develop worse than normal severe and long term headache, new weakness in your arms or legsnew seizure, leg pain or swelling in a single leg, or sudden onset of shortness of breath within three weeks of receiving the J&J vaccine, should talk to an Atrium Health clinical team member by calling 704-468-2000.

Has Atrium Health stopped giving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine?

As of April 23, 2021, CDC and FDA have recommended that use of the J&J vaccine resume in the United States. Following guidance from the CDC, FDA and the NC Department of Health and Human Services, Atrium Health will resume offering the J&J vaccine.

What kind of COVID-19 vaccine will I receive if I have an appointment with Atrium Health soon?

As of April 28, Atrium Health will resume distribution of all three available vaccines, including Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson. You can see which vaccine you are signed up to get in your MyAtriumHealth account.

There are appointments available for vaccination. Learn more at

What is Atrium Health doing to help their clinicians know how to treat this kind of blood clot? 

We have alerted our care teams – especially our primary care, emergency medicineand hospital physicians – that treatment of this specific type of blood clot is different from the treatment that might typically be administered for blood clots, and that knowing the COVID-19 vaccination history of patients with blood clots is vital. Usually, an anticoagulant drug called heparin is used to treat blood clots. In this setting, administration of heparin may be dangerous, and alternative treatments need to be given.

Why are we seeing blood clots following the Johnson & Johnson and Astra Zeneca vaccine but not in other vaccines?

This is still a new development, and researchers are still learning about this based on the six cases out of the nearly 7 million who have received the J&J vaccine. A review of all available data at this time shows that the J&J/Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine’s known and potential benefits outweigh its known and potential risks. CDC and FDA will continue to monitor the safety of all COVID-19 vaccines.