What The J&J Vaccine Pause Means For LTCs

The recent pause on the Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine has raised concerns among many individuals especially for long-term care stakeholders reports McKnights. The vaccine has severely impacted seven women all under the age of 48 with rare blood clots causing strokes.

The one-shot dose vaccine was initially a promising alternative compared to the two-dose vaccines of Pfizer and Moderna. Additionally, the science mechanisms behind the J&J vaccine were better known. Approximately 7 million Americans have already received the vaccination.

Joshua Sharfstein, M.D., vice dean for public health practice and community engagement at John Hopkins University, believes the hold on J&J vaccines is temporary and it will soon be allowed to be used again. He stated “it’s pretty likely this will be recommended again for older adults” provided it has adversely affected only women under 48.

During this pause, skilled nursing operators have requested Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. Ruth Katz, senior vice president of public policy and advocacy for LeadingAge, says that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is “deeply” committed to continue providing vaccines to nursing homes.

For those concerned about the risks associated with the J&J vaccine should understand the risk of having blood clots due to coronavirus are far greater. It is unknown whether this pause will cause unvaccinated nursing home staff to decline future vaccination opportunities. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has proposed requiring nursing home operators to report percent of staff vaccinated beginning in 2022. This would add additional pressure on the providers to ensure their staff is vaccinated.

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