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Claire DeRosa / Wisconsin Watch

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The Wisconsin Department of Health Services on Tuesday instructed vaccine providers statewide to pause distribution of Johnson & Johnson’s single-shot COVID-19 vaccine during a federal review of potential rare side effects. 

The move followed a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and U.S. Food and Drug Administration announcement that six cases of a severe type of blood clot were reported out of 6.8 million Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses given nationwide. “These adverse events appear to be extremely rare,” the statement said. 

None of those cases was reported in Wisconsin. Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine is among the least-used thus far in the state’s rollout, comprising about 160,000 of nearly 3.6 million shots given statewide.  

“We are pausing administration of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine out of an abundance of caution. At this time, these adverse events appear to be extremely rare,” DHS Secretary-designee Karen Timberlake said in a statement. “Vaccine providers should not administer the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at this time, and should hold on to the vaccine until federal review has been completed.”

DHS said Johnson & Johnson vaccine recipients should monitor for the following symptoms three weeks after their shot: severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness of breath.

Top Stories

People walk in and out of the Prevea COVID-19 vaccine clinic held at the Kress Event Center in Green Bay Tuesday. Samantha Madar / USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

Wisconsin health department halts Johnson & Johnson vaccine after ‘extremely rare’ but severe side effects reported — Appleton Post-Crescent 

U.S. calls for pause on Johnson & Johnson vaccine after rare clotting cases — The New York Times 

Federal officials and Evers preserve $70 million a month in food assistance in Wisconsin
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

‘Season of rebirth’: A Madison ER nurse ponders life after the pandemic — Wisconsin Watch/WPR 

A vaccine study in college students will help determine when it’s safe to take masks off — The Washington Post 

Rock County COVID-19 hospitalizations more than double in one week — Janesville Gazette 

No more mask requirement at several local schools — WXPR

‘A whirlwind of preparation’: Milwaukee teachers, staff prepare for return to in-person learning — TMJ4 News 

What are we missing? And how are you coping? Help us provide critical information and accountability by filling out this form or emailing us at tips@wisconsinwatch.org.

Quotable

Caroline Chen, a health care reporter for ProPublica, offered context about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine pause on Twitter. 

“We’re at an inflection point of competing forces. … On the one hand, we’re doing quite well with increasing COVID-19 vaccinations in our country, and especially here in Wisconsin, versus pandemic fatigue and the more contagious variant strains.”

Dr. John Raymond, president of the Medical College of Wisconsin, as quoted by WPR

Data to note

Click on the image above to see Wisconsin DHS COVID-19 vaccine data, which is updated daily.

Here’s a look at the Department of Health Services’ vaccine dashboard, which showed Tuesday that 78.5% of Wisconsinites ages 65 and older have gotten at least one dose — as have 37.6% of the state’s overall population. Nearly one in four Wisconsinites is fully vaccinated. Racial disparities persist in distributing vaccines. The shares of Black, Hispanic and Native American residents to receive a dose remain below that of white residents. 

Public health officials continue to urge Wisconsinites to wear masks and practice physical distancing until vaccinations are more widely distributed — particularly as infections again are increasing. On Tuesday, the state DHS reported a 7-day average of 794 new cases. The state also reported 10 new COVID-19 deaths, pushing the full toll to 6,690. 
WisContext offers this visualization. 

Find a vaccine site near you

DHS has this interactive map of vaccine providers across Wisconsin. Vaccinations are generally by appointment only and it may take time to schedule appointments with providers due to limited supplies of vaccines. Curious about how well your county is doing on vaccinations? The Washington Post created this searchable map

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