The University of Michigan has switched some of its COVID-19 vaccination clinics to the two-dose Pfizer vaccine and canceled several others after the federal government recommended pausing use of the one-dose Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine due to concerns over possible side effects.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration issued the guidance April 13 “out of an abundance of caution” as they investigate reports that six persons vaccinated with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine developed a rare and severe type of blood clot.
Clinics scheduled for April 13-14 at the Michigan Athletics Indoor Training Facility, 1150 S. State St., and for April 15-16 at the Meijer Pharmacy, 3145 Ann Arbor-Saline Road, will proceed, but will administer the two-dose Pfizer vaccine instead.
Some appointments are now available for faculty and staff at the Michigan Athletics and Meijer Pharmacy clinics. An email was sent to Ann Arbor faculty and staff April 13 with details about how to schedule appointments, which are free of charge. Registration information also is available on the Campus Maize and Blueprint vaccine page.
Vaccination clinics for students age 18 and older that had been scheduled for April 19-20 at Michigan Stadium, April 14-15 at UM-Flint and April 16 at UM-Dearborn have been canceled. Michigan Medicine is working to reschedule these clinics as supplies of the Pfizer vaccine allow.
President Mark Schlissel; Robert D. Ernst, associate vice president of student life for health and wellness, and executive director of University Health Service; and Preeti Malani, chief health officer and professor of internal medicine, sent emails to faculty, staff and students April 13 informing them of the changes.
Michigan Medicine, Washtenaw County and other university partners will continue to administer the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines as supplies allow.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine pause came after six reported U.S. cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot in women between the ages of 18 and 48 who had received the vaccine. More than 6.8 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have been administered nationwide as of April 12.
“Safety remains our top priority,” the U-M leaders said in their email. “If you’ve already received the single dose J&J vaccine, please monitor yourself for severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination, and contact your health care provider should these symptoms develop.”
More information will be posted as it becomes available to the vaccine information page on the Campus Maize and Blueprint website.
The university announced last week that it was providing opportunities for students to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine was selected because it did not require students to wait for a second appointment, as is necessary with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
The April 13 email reminded people that if they attend clinics administering the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, they will need to schedule a second shot three or four weeks later. That means those receiving a first dose this week would be scheduled for their second dose — depending on the vaccine — in early-to-mid May.
“The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been administered to greater than 100 million people in the U.S. without similar side effects or other major concerns. We continue to strongly encourage vaccination to help protect everyone from COVID-19,” the university leaders wrote.
Faculty and staff members who have not yet been vaccinated are encouraged to seek out and register at vaccination sites available to them, including private pharmacies or clinics, county health departments, or health systems other than Michigan Medicine where they may be patients.