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Some Universities Change Course After Pause on Johnson and Johnson Vaccine

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Health officials are temporarily halting the use of Johnson and Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine. The pause comes after six women developed rare blood clots within three weeks of being vaccinated.? 

It’s forced some South Dakota universities to change their vaccine rollout plans.?

South Dakota State University planned an on-campus vaccine clinicthis week using the one-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine.  

Laura Dirks is the public health specialist for SDSU. She says they’ve vaccinated almost 900 students with the Johnson and Johnson vaccine so far. They were planning over 400 more vaccinations this week. 

“And we obviously have handled that and put that on hold. We're waiting to hear back if there's any updated information from CDC and FDA. So for now, where we're having our students look elsewhere in the community for that opportunity.” 

Dirks says the Johnson and Johnson vaccine was ideal for college students.? 

“Part of the reason that we gravitated towards that vaccine, and why Brookings health chose to allocate that to SDSU, is that and we're nearing the end of that semester, especially for our on-campus students, that that two dose requirement with that four-week separation is not ideal, and not always possible.” 

The University of South Dakota also planned to use the Johnson and Johnson vaccine at an on-campus clinic. They coordinated with Sanford Health and switched to Moderna vaccines.? 

Kevin O’Kelley is USD’s assistant vice president of research complianceHe says even with the last-minute change, almost 80 students showed up to get their first dose. 

“So yes, the second shot will have to be after you get home provided that you go home. And I'm very, very proud of them for sticking with the plan and getting vaccinated even though it's not the more convenient Johnson and Johnson vaccine.” 

Both Dirks and O’Kelley say the future of their vaccine rollout plans depends on CDC and FDA recommendations. But they both say students and staff should get vaccinated however they can.?