FAQs about the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine

Q: Use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was “paused” before the Centers for Disease Control and Food and Drug Administration said it could be used again on April 23. Why was it paused?

According to the CDC, “On April 13, the FDA and CDC announced that, out of more than 6.8 million doses administered, six reports of a rare and severe type of blood clot combined with low blood platelet levels occurring in people after receiving the Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine had been reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). In these cases, a type of blood clot called cerebral venous sinus thrombosis was seen in combination with low levels of blood platelets (thrombosis-thrombocytopenia syndrome, or TTS).
Today, the agencies can confirm that a total of 15 cases of TTS have been reported to , including the original six reported cases. All of these cases occurred in women between the ages of 18 and 59, with a median age of 37 years. Reports indicated symptom onset between 6 and 15 days after vaccination.”

Here’s a discussion from Alex Dainis ’11 about her experience with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Q: Why have the CDC and FDA allowed the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to be used again?

According to the announcement from the CDC and FDA:

Vaccine recipients or caregivers should review the Fact Sheet for Recipients and Caregivers, which have been revised to include information about the risk of this syndrome, which has occurred in a very small number of people who have received the [Johnson & Johnson] Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine.


Q: Should I get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine?

Whether to get the Johson & Johnson vaccine or one of the other vaccines is an individual decision; if you have questions or concerns specific to your situation, you should contact your healthcare provider. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires only one dose, while the others require two spaced several weeks apart. All three have been determined to be effective in preventing COVID-19 disease.


Q: If I didn’t get the Pfizer vaccine during Brandeis’ earlier clinics, do I have to get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine?

While students will be required to be fully vaccinated with an FDA-authorized vaccine to be on campus in the fall, you may receive any of the three FDA-authorized vaccines (Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer or Moderna), and you may obtain it anywhere it is offered. In Massachusetts vaccines are available at pharmacies like the CVS locations on Harvard Street and Lexington Street, at Hannaford, Star Market’s Osco Pharmacy, and the Walgreens locations on Weston St. and Main Street. The availability of appointments varies depending on the day, but vaccines are quickly becoming more available.
If you receive your vaccine off campus, be sure to upload your vaccination card, once you have completed your vaccinations (the two required for the Pfizer or Moderna or the one from Johnson & Johnson) to the Campus Passport.

Q: I didn’t get a vaccine during the clinic that offered the Pfizer shot. Will I have another opportunity to get that vaccine on campus?
If you did not get a first-dose shot of the Pfizer vaccine at our first clinic, you may sign up for a first dose of the vaccine when we offer the clinic again in May.You will need to sign up for a second dose of a Pfizer vaccine wherever you will be three weeks later to complete your vaccinationr. If you plan to remain in or near Waltham, after the semester, Brandeis also plans to offer vaccination clinics for our community through the summer.