PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Rhode Islanders who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine can expect to hear from state health officials soon, according to R.I. Department of Health Medical Director Dr. James McDonald.
The state stopped giving residents the single-dose shot Tuesday as federal health officials investigate reports of severe blood clots.
McDonald said he’s pleased that the federal government is taking these concerns seriously. He said anyone who was administered a Johnson & Johnson vaccine in Rhode Island should soon receive a text or email regarding the pause.
“We are just going to let you know this happened and what to look for,” he explained.
Watch the full conversation with Dr. Jim McDonald in the video below and catch him on 12 News Now at 4 every Thursday.
McDonald urged everyone who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine not to panic, and to instead monitor themselves for any adverse side effects and seek assistance from their health care provider if they do.
He also said it’s important to put the six reported cases into context, adding that millions of Americans received the vaccine and the severe blood clot risk is likely rare.
“I consider it like this ─ we’re now aware of an issue, and that is a much better place to be,” he said. “They say ignorance is bliss but ignorance never really is bliss. So I’m glad we know about the issue and let’s see what we learn.”
When it comes to how long the vaccine is expected to provide immunity, McDonald said “we’ll just have to wait and see.”
“As the variants become more dominant what we might see is there might need to be some type of a different vaccine,” McDonald said. “It is a little bit like the flu vaccine, but it will be different. I don’t know if it’s going to be every year.”