Perhaps the only crisis larger than the COVID-19 pandemic itself, is the deep-rooted fear of the vaccines by communities most disproportionately affected by the virus. Confusing messages from community leadership, politicization of the virus, and longstanding inequalities of access to healthcare have led us to this moment. We have the vaccines. We have the data. It is now time to vaccinate as many people as fast as possible (as safely as possible).
And then the news drops that there are blood clot issues and states are pausing dispensing. Now what?
Stay Calm & Vaccine On
Community health centers with access to Pfizer and Moderna vaccines should continue promoting these vaccines and offering them as an alternative to the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine.
Update Your Website
Add an update to your website with how you are handling the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Silence creates confusion and drama. The best policy is to clearly and concisely communicate the facts. Be sure to make this update in the languages of your customer base such as English and Spanish. Here is an example of a statement you can use on your website:
On the recommendation from the CDC and FDA, and out of an abundance of caution, _____________ will pause providing the one-dose Johnson & Johnson (Jansen) vaccine. Anyone who scheduled an appointment at ______________ for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be offered to reschedule or receive the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine instead.
This pause comes due to a very rare side effect: Of the nearly seven million people who have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, six people have experienced a blood clot. If a person received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and within three weeks developed a severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath, they should contact their doctor.
Share To Social Media
Share your statement to your social media outlets using the Post & Link technique. The post shares the pertinent information, the link drives them into the hub of your Hub & Spoke site to get more information. Here is an example of a Twitter post you can update and use:
We are pausing administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine out of an abundance of caution and per recommendations by @CDCgov and the @US_FDA. For more information in English and Spanish, please visit the following link: (insert link)
Keep Patients Posted
As things update and change, you will need to continue to post updates to your site and social media to keep your patients informed. Don’t assume they know what is happening, you have worked hard to establish a relationship and trust with your patients — continue to be a source of facts and information.
Work With a PR Team
Do you need a skilled PR team with experience in crisis management and health care situations? Contact us about a PR or crisis management campaign. This is a great time to consider hiring an outsourced marketing department for your communications, social media management, and content development for outreach.
Joint CDC and FDA Statement on Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine
The following statement is attributed to Dr. Anne Schuchat, Principal Deputy Director of the CDC and Dr. Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research
As of April 12, more than 6.8 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) 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. Treatment of this specific type of blood clot is different from the treatment that might typically be administered. 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.
CDC will convene a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) on Wednesday to further review these cases and assess their potential significance. FDA will review that analysis as it also investigates these cases. Until that process is complete, we are recommending a pause in the use of this vaccine out of an abundance of caution. This is important, in part, to ensure that the health care provider community is aware of the potential for these adverse events and can plan for proper recognition and management due to the unique treatment required with this type of blood clot.
Right now, these adverse events appear to be extremely rare. COVID-19 vaccine safety is a top priority for the federal government, and we take all reports of health problems following COVID-19 vaccination very seriously. People 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. Health care providers are asked to report adverse events to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System at https://vaers.hhs.gov/reportevent.html.
CDC and FDA will provide additional information and answer questions later today at a media briefing. A recording of that media call will be available on the FDA’s YouTube channel.