Itemizer-Observer report

SALEM – The Oregon Health Authority and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are investigating the death of an Oregon woman following immunization with Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine.

OHA announced the investigation on Thursday, but also lifted the pause on use of the vaccine on Saturday.

The woman was in her 50s and received the vaccine before the pause order on the vaccine.

“Until the investigation is complete, it cannot be concluded whether her death is related to the vaccine,” OHA’s statement read. “She developed a rare but serious blood clot within two weeks following vaccination. This blood clot was seen in combination with very low platelets,”

Prior to the pause, cases of this serious blood clot had been identified among six women around the country who received the vaccine, the statement said.

At the time of the CDC–FDA pause recommendation, about 7.5 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine had been administered in the United States, with more than 87,000 doses having been administered at locations throughout Oregon.

On Saturday, OHA announced that health care providers and pharmacies could resume use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine if they can ensure patients or their caregivers are informed about the benefits and risks of the vaccine in the patient’s native language.

The OHA issued guidance on Saturday. On April 13, the federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommended a pause on use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine following reports of rare and serious blood clots in a small number of people, out of the approximately 7.5 million people who’d been vaccinated at the time.

The Food and Drug administration lifted the pause, with a warning about the potential for rare blood clots for women under age 50.

The Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup also found that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is “generally safe and effective and that the resumption of its use is warranted once culturally and linguistically appropriate patient and provider educational materials in plain language that support informed decision-making are available.”

OHA’s guidance also states: “Recipients of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine should be made aware of this rare potential risk of blood clots within the first three weeks of vaccination. Clinical characteristics include clots in the cerebral, extremity, pulmonary or splanchnic vasculature. Symptoms may include severe or unusual headache, leg pain, shortness of breath, or abdominal pain; petechiae in the arms and shins indicating thrombocytopenia. Those who develop such symptoms should be advised to seek medical attention immediately … Vaccine providers should make information available about which vaccine is available at their site.”

The CDC and OHA will provide updates when available.

Cases and deaths

OHA issues daily reports on COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, deaths and vaccinations. Here are the numbers for the last week in Oregon and Polk County.

As of Monday, there were 181,321 reported cases and 2,486 deaths statewide since the beginning of the pandemic. In Polk County, the numbers are 3,544 and 52. For the two-week reporting period of April 11 through April 24, Polk County recorded 179 cases for a count of 215.8 cases per 100,000 residents and a positivity rate of 7%.

Monday: Statewide there were 630 cases and 1 death. In Polk County, there were 10 cases and no deaths. OHA reported that 319 people were hospitalized with COVID-19, more than the 300 hospitalization threshold at which more restrictions may be instituted.

Polk County will return to extreme risk on Friday.

Sunday: Statewide, there were 780 cases and one death. In Polk County, there were eight cases and no deaths.

Saturday: Statewide, there were 830 cases and eight deaths. Polk County’s numbers were 10 cases and no deaths.

Friday: There were 1,020 cases and nine deaths statewide. In Polk County, the numbers were15 cases and no deaths.

Thursday: Statewide, there were 993 cases and one death. For Polk County, there were 20 cases and no deaths reported.

Wednesday: Statewide, OHA reported 989 cases and six deaths. In Polk County, there were 20 cases and no deaths reported

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