Darien pharmacy says recipients of J&J vaccine 'shouldn't panic'

Darien's Grieb's Pharmacy is one of only six independent pharmacies in the state to have received COVID-19 vaccines, they said.

Darien's Grieb's Pharmacy is one of only six independent pharmacies in the state to have received COVID-19 vaccines, they said.


DARIEN — Federal agencies and the state Department of Health have asked COVID vaccine providers to put a pause on Johnson & Johnson doses following six reported U.S. cases of rare blood clotting. But Grieb’s Pharmacy in Darien, which has administered a few hundred of the single-dose vaccines, is urging people not to panic.

“It appears this is an extremely rare side effect so those that have gotten the J&J vaccine shouldn’t panic,” Grieb’s Pharmacy manager Tim Harvey said Tuesday.

The state reported that, of the 6.8 million individuals who have received the J&J vaccine nationally, six individuals have developed a rare and severe type of blood clot called cerebral venous sinus thrombosis within two weeks of receiving their vaccine.

The state said all six cases occurred among women between ages 18-48. Roughly 100,000 Connecticut residents have received the J&J vaccine with no reported serious adverse events.

“Although these events are rare, and no events have occurred in Connecticut, the Connecticut Department of Public Health recommends that COVID vaccine providers pause on administration of J&J vaccine for the time being while the FDA and CDC complete their review,” the state’s guidance said.

Grieb’s is not currently offering the J&J vaccine due to supply issues, but said he’ll continue trying to order it — along with Pfizer and Moderna — while awaiting further guidance from the state on when it might be safe to administer again.

Walgreen’s in Darien also offers the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, as well as Pfizer.

“The supply of Johnson & Johnson had already decreased dramatically due to other manufacturing issues so we’ve exhausted our supply at this point,” Harvey said.

Harvey added that the issue highlights the “importance of adverse event reporting apps like V-Safe.”

According to the CDC, V-safe is a smartphone-based tool that uses text messaging and web surveys to provide personalized health check-ins after one receives a COVID-19 vaccine.

“Through V-safe, you can quickly tell CDC if you have any side effects after getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Depending on your answers to the web surveys, someone from CDC may call to check on you and get more information,” CDC reports.

V-safe will also remind those who get the vaccine to get their second COVID-19 vaccine dose if they need one.

The app will follow up with patients on side effects and reports them to the CDC, Harvey said, which helps them to make difficult decisions like this.

Harvey also said one-dose vaccines are “a great option for home-bound patients or other hard-to-reach populations, so hopefully we will have more answers from the CDC or state Department of Public Health in the coming days or weeks.”