Metro Health won’t give J&J vaccine doses to women under 50

COVID-19 Vaccine

WYOMING, Mich. (WOOD) — As Metro Health – University of Michigan Health starts offering Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine doses again, it says it will not give the shot to women younger than 50.

Most of the people who developed dangerous blood clots after getting the single-shot vaccine were women younger than 50. Reports of the clots prompted the federal government to encourage providers to lay off using the vaccine for about two weeks. Ultimately, health officials decided that with 8 million doses given and only about 15 reports of the blood clots, the benefits outweighed the risks. Health officials said women who are concerned about the vaccine should seek the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines instead.

Metro Health decided that out of an abundance of caution, it would not give J&J doses to women under 50 at all — even though it noted the chances of developing a clot were about 1 in 143,000 for that demographic.

Older women and men can still get J&J doses through Metro at its Caledonia, Cedar Springs and community clinic locations. When you schedule your appointment, you’ll be told what type of vaccine is being offered. You can ask for an alternative and Metro Health will oblige if possible.

Spectrum Health said in a statement to News 8 that in accordance with federal guidance, it will give the J&J vaccine to anyone who asks for it, assuming it has the doses on hand.

“The risks and benefits of any vaccine are provided to the recipient and require verbal and written consent with advice on careful monitoring for issues, including the specific concerns identified with the J&J vaccine,” Spectrum’s statement said. “Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are also safe alternatives and available at the present time if the recipient prefers an alternative vaccine.”

Mercy Health Saint Mary’s in Grand Rapids said in a statement that “out of an abundance of caution,” it recommended women 18 to 49 get either Pfizer or Moderna — however, the statement did not say outright whether the hospital system would refuse to give women in that age group the J&J shot.

“For men and for women outside of that age range, Mercy Health Saint Mary’s will continue to recommend receiving the first available vaccine,” the statement continued. “Mercy Health Saint Mary’s continues to encourage vaccination for all who are eligible and would advise that patients speak with their doctor about vaccination to make a personalized decision. As with all vaccines, patients will be provided with FDA fact sheets so they can make an informed decision.”

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says it is advising all providers to follow federal guidance regarding the J&J vaccine.

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