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Do I Qualify for a Third Dose of the COVID-19 Vaccine?

Yale New Haven Health will be offering the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine after a review by the CDC and FDA cleared the vaccine for use. The vaccine was put on hold after a small number of people experienced blood clots in the brain, abdomen and legs after their vaccination. These clots also occurred with low levels of platelets, which are the blood cells that help your body stop bleeding. Most people who developed this reaction were women 18 to 49 years old. The chance of having this occur is extremely rare. Symptoms associated with these clots include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Leg swelling
  • Persistent abdominal pain
  • Severe or persistent headaches or blurred vision
  • East bruising or tiny blood spots under the skin beyond the site of the injection

If you experience any of these symptoms one to two weeks after vaccination, seek immediate medical attention. For frequently asked questions about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, read more below.

Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) Vaccine Information

Is the Johnson & Johnson vaccine safe for me to get it?

Blood clots involving blood vessels in the brain, abdomen, and legs along with low levels of platelets (blood cells that help your body stop bleeding), have occurred in a small number of people who have received the Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine. In people who developed these blood clots and low levels of platelets, symptoms began approximately one to two-weeks following vaccination. Most people who developed these blood clots and low levels of platelets were females ages 18 through 49 years. The chance of developing blood clots with low platelets after vaccination with the Janssen J&J) vaccine is extremely rare (less than one in a million overall):

  • The risk among women 18-49 years old is 7 cases per million Janssen (J&J) vaccines given
  • The risk among women 50 years and older is 0.9 cases per million Janssen (J&J) vaccines given 
  • Only one case has been reported among men who received the Janssen (J&J) vaccine.

Should women younger than 50 years not get this vaccine?

Women who are younger than 50 years may receive the Janssen (J&J) vaccine. However, they should be aware of the rare risk of a specific syndrome of blood clots and low platelets (known as Thombosis and Thrombocytopenia Syndrome or TTS) which has been observed in a very small number of women following vaccination with the Janssen (J&J) vaccine. Although the overall risk is very low, the risk of TTS was higher in women younger than 50 years compared to older women:

  • The risk among women 18-49 years old is 7 cases per million Janssen (J&J) vaccines given.
  • The risk among women 50 years and older is 0.9 cases per million Janssen (J&J) vaccines given.

There are other FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccines (i.e. the mRNA vaccines made by Pfizer and Moderna) that have not been found to increase the risk of TTS.

May I get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine if I am pregnant?

While pregnancy, itself, can make women more susceptible to developing blood clots, pregnancy is not known to make women more susceptible to the specific syndrome of blood clots and low platelets that has been observed in a very small number of women following vaccination with the Janssen (J&J) vaccine. There were no pregnant women among those who developed this syndrome following vaccination.

May I get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine if I recently had a baby?

While the period during and after pregnancy can make women more susceptible to developing blood clots, women who have recently given birth are not known to be more susceptible to the specific syndrome of blood clots and low platelets that has been observed in a very small number of women following vaccination with the Janssen (J&J) vaccine.

May I get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine if I take aspirin or a blood thinner?

Yes. You do not need to stop taking these medications prior to getting the Janssen (J&J) vaccine.

May I get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine if I use oral contraceptives or take hormone therapy?

While oral contraceptives and hormone therapy can make people more susceptible to developing blood clots, women who are on these hormones are not felt to be more susceptible to the specific syndrome of blood clots and low platelets that has been observed in a very small number of women following vaccination with the Janssen (J&J) vaccine.

I have a history of allergy to heparin. May I get this vaccine?

Some people with a specific heparin allergy, known as Heparin-Induced Thrombocytopenia or HIT, should not get the Janssen (J&J) vaccine. If you think you may have an allergy to heparin, it is best to check with your doctor before getting this vaccine or to get an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (made by Pfizer or Moderna) instead.

Should I take aspirin or a blood thinner before I get this vaccine?

No. There is no need to start aspirin or anticoagulant medication before the Janssen (J&J) vaccine unless you are prescribed this for another reason.