(Fargo, ND) -- In response to Tuesday's joint announcement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration recommending a pause in the use of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, Fargo Cass Public Health is assuring the community that the FCPH vaccine operation will follow guidance on this topic from both the state and federal level. In addition to recommendations from CDC and FDA, the North Dakota Department of Health is recommending that Johnson & Johnson vaccine be kept in inventory but not be administered.

“We understand this development may be concerning but also recognize that pausing the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a necessary step in the review process that will take place at the federal level. This development does not reduce the importance of being vaccinated against COVID-19, as that is an important step in reducing spread of the virus in our community," said Director of Nursing Suzanne Schaefer. "We are fortunate that two other COVID-19 vaccines are currently available and encourage individuals to take advantage of local vaccine clinics.”

FCPH had previously scheduled a vaccine clinic utilizing the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for April 21st and is in the process of assisting individuals registered for that clinic in making alternate arrangements for vaccination.

According to a statement from CDC, more than 6.8 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have been administered in the U.S. CDC and FDA are reviewing data involving six reported U.S. cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot in individuals after receiving the J&J vaccine. In these cases, a type of blood clot called cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) was seen in combination with low levels of blood platelets (thrombocytopenia). All six cases occurred among women between the ages of 18 and 48, and symptoms occurred 6 to 13 days after vaccination.

Individuals who have received the J&J vaccine who develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination should contact their health care provider.