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COVID-19 Vaccine Information and Resources for Members

Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) Vaccine Pause

On April 13, the CDC and FDA, out of an abundance of caution, recommended a pause in the administration of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The CDC  conducted a review panel on this issue on Wednesday, April 14.

The Wolf administration also directed a pause in the administration of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in Pennsylvania.

At this time, it is important to note that CDC and FDA officials have emphasized that the side effects that led to this pause are extremely rare.

PSEA will be in regular contact with federal and state officials about this, and we will share information as we receive it.

Here’s what we know at this time

  • The reason for the pause was the appearance of six cases of a rare cerebral blood clot after administration of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. To date, 6.8 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have been administered in the United States.
  • This side effect was only observed in women between 18 and 48 years of age.
  • The side effects were discovered six to 13 days after the administration of the vaccine.
  • CDC and FDA officials have emphasized that the occurrence of these side effects are “extremely rare.”
  • PSEA is not aware of any blood clot issues with members who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
  • Pennsylvania’s school staff vaccination program ended two weeks ago, on March 31, and most of the 112,000 members who were vaccinated through that program got their shots more than two weeks ago. So, we are hopeful that we are past the time of risk for our membership.

See all the slides from the CDC 4/13/2021 panel discussion

If members have symptoms, they should contact their health care providers

While the cerebral blood clot side effects are extremely rare, members  who have symptoms or concerns should contact their health care providers.

"As of April 12, more than 6.8 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen ) vaccine have been administered in the U.S. CDC and FDA are reviewing data involving six reported U.S. cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot in individuals after receiving the J&J vaccine. In these cases, a type of blood clot called cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) was seen in combination with low levels of blood platelets (thrombocytopenia). All six cases occurred among women between the ages of 18 and 48, and symptoms occurred 6 to 13 days after vaccination."

Breaking News and Updates

April 14, 2021: The CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) conducted a review panel on pausing the J&J vaccine. They decided to take no action at this time, leaving the pause in place, with plans to reconvene in 7-10 days to review additional data. Slides from panel's discussion

April 13, 2021: The CDC and FDA announced a pause in the administration of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine due to side effects discovered in six people out of the 6.8 million who have received the vaccine. The Wolf administration also announced a pause in Pennsylvania.

March 29, 2021: According to the PA Dept. of Education, 111,358 teachers and school staff across Pennsylvania have received the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. 

PSEA and the school staff vaccine program in the Press

ABC 27: 112.5K teachers among nearly 263K who got J&J shots in Pa. before the “pause”

Lancaster Online: 'The vaccine is still very safe': Lancaster County educators not worried about J&J vaccine

CBS 21: Teachers, educators who received Johnson & Johnson vaccine unphased by pause

WLVR: Local health networks and bureaus pause the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine citing possibility of rare blood clot

WBRE: J&J vaccine now under a microscope in the eyes of many Pennsylvanians

Spotlight PA: Pa. ‘pauses’ Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine after blood clotting reports

PennLive: Pause on Johnson & Johnson vaccine cause for ‘confidence’ in overall safety, Pa. official says

WGAL: If you received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, here are symptoms to look out for

KDKA: J&J pause comes after PA's special effort to vaccinate teachers

Philly Inquirer: Philadelphia, Pa. and N.J. all pause use of J&J vaccine as U.S. investigates reports of rare blood clots; COVID-19 cases continue to climb in Pa.

New York Times: Johnson & Johnson Vaccinations Halt Across Country After Rare Clotting Cases Emerge

KDKA-TV: COVID-19 in Pennsylvania: Gov. Tom Wolf formally announces teachers can jump the line for vaccine

Associated Press: Pennsylvania teachers, school staff to get 1-dose vaccine

PennLive: Pa.’s teacher, school staff vaccination program to launch on March 10

Public News Service: PA teachers praise vaccination plan

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: ‘Another layer of support’: Wolf says Pa. will vaccinate teachers, staff with Johnson & Johnson shot

March 03, 2021

Philadelphia Inquirer: Pa. teachers to begin getting vaccines next week, Gov. Wolf announces

WHYY: Pa. coronavirus update: State to vaccinate teachers by mid-April; Montco plans third mass site (

Allentown Morning Call: Pennsylvania teachers move up in the COVID-19 vaccine queue, but others on front lines feel left behind: ‘Public safety should be a priority’

WGAL: Pennsylvania teachers, school staff prioritized for Johnson & Johnson vaccine

WLVR: Gov. Wolf: Pa. National Guard will begin next week to vaccinate teachers, school employees with new J&J COVID vaccine

PennLive: In praise of Pennsylvania Educators | Opinion

School staff vaccination program completed March 31, 2021

UPDATE: On March 31, Pennsylvania’s school staff vaccination program was completed, after vaccinating 112,000 school employees in less than four weeks. The process was smooth and well-organized.

Because it was so successful, Pennsylvania’s schools are in a good position to reopen safely for more in-person instruction.

WHO

Who will receive the vaccine?

This special vaccination program is for school staff members only. No other group of Pennsylvanians has access to this process, a signal that school staff members are a top priority for receiving the vaccine.

All school staff members will be able to register to receive the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. The goal is to provide the vaccine to all school staff within the first week of April.

IUs will work with Pre-K to 12 school entities to identify staff who want to receive the vaccine.

The following school staff members will have the first opportunity to receive the vaccine: 

  • Pre-K-12 teachers of students with disabilities and English learners and related in-classroom support staff;
  • Elementary teachers and related in-classroom support staff, beginning with the youngest students;
  • Bus drivers/transporters, and support staff and contracted service providers who have direct contact with elementary students; and
  • Other priority school staff who have regular, sustained in-person contact with students during the school day.

Other school staff members will be next in line for the program, WITH THE GOAL OF PROVIDING THE VACCINE TO ALL SCHOOL STAFF WITHIN THE FIRST WEEK OF APRIL.

School staff will receive an email from their school administration allowing them to schedule an appointment to receive the vaccine at locations within their IU. Vaccination appointments will likely be scheduled between 2-8 p.m. on weekdays, and between 8 a.m.-8 p.m. on weekends. School staff are encouraged to consider travel time to the appointments they schedule, allowing times later in the day to be used for staff members who will need to travel longer distances to the vaccine locations.

Who will administer the vaccine?

Pennsylvania state government will identify and coordinate with individuals who will administer the vaccines, with the assistance of the National Guard and a medical services vendor.

WHEN

Sign Up ASAP.
Soon, you will receive an email with a link to a survey from your school administration with a survey you must complete, directing you to answer a few simple questions.

COMPLETE THIS VERY SHORT SURVEY AS SOON AS YOU RECEIVE THE EMAIL, whether you intend to receive the vaccine or not. If you miss this opportunity, you may not have another chance to participate in this special program for school staff members. Make sure you respond to this email no later than Friday, March 5 at 5 p.m.

How Soon?
The first 94,600 doses will begin to be administered next week, with a goal of vaccinating all school staff members who want the Johnson & Johnson vaccine by the first week of April, subject to vaccine availability.  

WHERE

Where will members actually receive the vaccination?
Twenty-eight locations will be identified through intermediate units. Each school district will be assigned a vaccine location in its intermediate unit. After you have completed the email survey and signed up, you will receive more information about exactly where and when you will be vaccinated.

NEXT STEPS

This special program for school staff members is an extremely effective way to get the COVID-19 vaccine to every PSEA member who wants it.

It's important to watch for an email with a link to a survey from your school administration, and COMPLETE THE VERY SHORT SURVEY (IN THAT EMAIL) AS SOON AS YOU RECEIVE THE EMAIL MESSAGE.

We’ll be updating members regularly as this exciting opportunity develops. 

What you need to know about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine

Approved

The FDA and CDC approved the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for emergency use. This means it has been cleared for use and determined to be safe and effective.

One Dose

As opposed to the other vaccines currently being distributed, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires only one dose to be effective.

Effective

According to the CDC, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is safe and effective. 

COVID-19 Vaccine Resources

Advocacy and Legislative Updates

Thank You to the Members of the Pennsylvania COVID -19 Vaccine Task Force

"On behalf of the 140,000 PSEA members who have already begun to receive the COVID-19 vaccine because of your efforts, I want to extend my gratitude for the incredible work you did to make the vaccine available to the school staff members who are so dedicated to teaching and serving Pennsylvania’s students."

Joint Letter on prioritizing providing the COVID-19 vaccine to Pennsylvania’s educators, support staff, and school administrators

“The best way to reduce health risks in schools and reduce reliance on social distancing guidelines is to vaccinate school staff members as soon as possible.”

The association leaders added that prioritizing the delivery of the COVID-19 vaccine to school staff will help Pennsylvania schools to open for in-person instruction and make it safer to bring more students back to their classrooms.

“By prioritizing providing the COVID-19 vaccine to school staff members, we can address all of these issues and we can do it quickly. This will offer a new level of safety and confidence for staff members, students, and their families, and help speed the safe reopening of all of Pennsylvania’s schools for in-person instruction.”

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