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Centura Health Continues To Use Johnson & Johnson COVID Vaccines At Mass Vaccination Sites In Colorado After Adverse Reactions Investigated

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (CBS4) - Officials from Centura Health discussed what happened at Wednesday's COVID-19 vaccine clinic at Dick's Sporting Goods Park when the clinic was paused while several people experienced adverse side effects after getting the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Of the 11 people who got sick after receiving the Janssen vaccine, two were hospitalized.

"Yesterday we experienced some issues that we had not experienced before in our vaccination process," said Centura Health President and Chief Executive Officer Peter D. Banko.

Athens City-County Health Department Director of Nursing,
ATHENS, OHIO, UNITED STATES - 2021/03/09: Athens City-County Health Department Director of Nursing, Crystal Jones, 52, loads syringes with the vaccine on the first day of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine being made available to residents. The Athens City-County Health Department collaborated with Ohio University to roll out the new Johnson & Johnson (COVID-19) Vaccine, which only requires one shot instead of two. (Photo by Stephen Zenner/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Centura operates the site at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City. After the clinic was paused Wednesday afternoon, the 640 people still scheduled to receive their vaccine that day were rescheduled for Sunday and would receive the Pfizer COVID vaccine instead of the Janssen vaccine.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment says the patients experienced symptoms like nausea and dizziness and that a small number of people fainted after receiving the vaccine. Centura Health said that some of those people also vomited. They add there is no reason to believe other people who were vaccinated at this site should be concerned.

At the same site on Monday, 4 people experienced adverse side effects from the Janssen COVID vaccine and on Tuesday, 8 people experienced adverse side effects. None of those people were taken to the hospital. The two who were taken to the hospital on Wednesday were released from the emergency department and not admitted.

"After we made the decision to temporarily pause vaccinating yesterday at Dick's Sporting Goods Park, we sequestered those vaccines in partnership with the state so that we can do a full investigation," said Shauna Gulley, MD, Senior Vice President and Chief Clinical Officer with Centura Health.

johnson janssen covid vaccine
(credit: CBS)

Gulley went on to say that there is no reason to believe that there was something wrong with the vaccine itself and that in cooperation with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, a full investigation will take place. CDPHE released its findings on the investigation Thursday afternoon.

"After reviewing each patient's symptoms, analyzing other vaccinations from the same lot of the vaccine and speaking with the CDC to confirm our findings, we are confident in saying that there is no reason for concern," said Dr. Eric France, chief medical officer, CDPHE, in a statement. "We are committed to making sure every community clinic is well-staffed with medical professionals who take patient safety with the utmost seriousness, just as they did at yesterday's clinic."

Whether there was a trend or commonality in the demographic of those who experienced adverse reactions on Wednesday will be included in the investigation.

The CDPHE said in a statement that the "Food and Drug Administration has run the two lot numbers used at the Dick's Sporting Goods site and found no worrying pattern of similar events with these lots."

Centura Health will continue to operate other mass vaccination sites in Colorado that include Ball Arena in Denver and the Colorado State Fairgrounds in Pueblo where the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine will be administered.

The CDPHE says there have been 10 previous reactions at community vaccine sites before this incident, according to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System. The CDC and FDA both manage the system.

dick's sporting goods park
(credit: CBS)

A similar incident happened in North Carolina on Wednesday, when Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines were paused at the PNC Arena following adverse reactions in 18 people, with four of them taken to the hospital. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is analyzing the vaccine lot of the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine.

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