CDC examining death of 45-year-old Virginia woman who got Johnson & Johnson vaccine

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Here are the latest updates about COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, in North Carolina.

8 p.m.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention is investigating the death of a Virginia woman who took the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Virginia State Vaccination Coordinator Dr. Danny Avula said the CDC confirmed to the Virginia Department of Health that it is examining the March death of the woman as part of its investigation into possible adverse side effects from the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.

According to the VAERS report, the woman was 45 years old and was vaccinated on March 6. She became ill six days later and died March 18 after spending two days in the hospital.

The CDC data said the woman was diagnosed with cortical vein thrombosis and massive intracerebral hemorrhage after a gradually worsening headache a week after receiving the vaccine.

Earlier Tuesday, the CDC and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration called for a pause on the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine after six women in the United States developed a rare disorder involving blood clots within about two weeks of vaccination. This pause was recommended out of an "abundance of caution," as these adverse events appear to be extremely rare.

Avula said Virginia's vaccine rollout will continue with Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

People who have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine who develop a severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination should contact their health care provider, or call 911 if it is a medical emergency.

5:15 p.m.
More than 122.2 million people, or 36.8% of the U.S. population, have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some 75.3 million people, or 22.7% of the population, have completed their vaccination.

5 p.m.
Stocks closed mixed on Wall Street Tuesday as gains from a handful of Big Tech companies were tempered by weakness elsewhere in the market. Treasury yields fell, which hurt banks but helped tech companies. The S&P 500 rose 0.3%, notching another record high. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.2% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq rose 1.1%. Among major tech stocks, Apple gained 2.4%. Johnson & Johnson fell 1.3% after U.S. regulators recommended a pause in using its single-dose COVID-19 vaccine to investigate reports of possibly dangerous blood clots. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 1.62%.

3:38 p.m.
Sampson County said it has 48 new cases since April 8 for a total of 7,706. The death toll remains at 103.

Sampson County has paused Johnson &Johnson vaccines but continues to hold events for other vaccinations:

  • Wednesday - Drive-Thru Event (8 a.m. - noon) first and second doses at Union High School, 1189 Kader Merritt Road, Rose Hill.
  • Saturday - Drive-Thru Event (8 a.m. - noon) Royal Chapel Missionary Baptist Church, 7660 Ivanhoe Road, Ivanhoe
  • April 21 - Drive-Thru Event (9 a.m. - 4 p.m.) first and second doses at Sampson County Expo Center, 414 Warsaw Road, Clinton


Vaccinations may also be available by appointment at the Sampson County Health Department. To make an appointment, please call (910) 490-1056 or (910) 592-1131 ext. 4001. Appointment times are limited and are subject to vaccine availability.

2 p.m
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services held a news conference to answer rising questions about the COVID-19 pandemic and the vaccination process in the state.

NCDHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen was joined by NCDHHS Division of Public Health Pharmacist Amanda Fuller Moore.

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NCDHHS Secretary Dr. Cohen discusses vaccine safety after use of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine was paused.



In all, 242,000 doses of the J&J vaccine have been administered in North Carolina, Cohen said, and there have not been any of the severe, serious reactions or blood clots in North Carolina.

The media briefing came after federal recommendations to pause administration of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Cohen herself received the J&J one-shot vaccine and said she had the expected side effects of headache, body aches and a sore arm.

She said the six serious cases were all in women between 18-48 years old.

Cohen said J&J vaccine use in North Carolina will be paused "out of an abundance of caution."

Fuller Moore said they are asking providers who were scheduled for a J&J vaccine to either reschedule or see about getting scheduled for another vaccine from Pfizer or Moderna.

Cohen also said that if people have had the J&J vaccine and they feel well, they do not need to do anything. She said that if you have had the J&J vaccine in the past three weeks and you start experiencing severe headaches, leg pain or other severe discomforts, then contact your doctor and tell them you have had the J&J vaccine.

1 p.m.
1,364 new COVID-19 cases were reported in North Carolina on Tuesday.

The number of completed tests was much lower than average, with only 10,902.

That contributed to an increase in the percent of positive tests which is now at 8.3 percent.

The number of people hospitalized rose to its highest number in a month, with 1,032 being treated for COVID-19.

32.7 percent of the total population of North Carolina is partially vaccinated. 24.2 percent are fully vaccinated.

12:48 p.m.
The Halifax County Health Department reports nine new cases for a total of 5,344 positive COVID 19 cases. The death toll countywide remains at 107 -- or 2.0% of cases.

11:15 p.m.
North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services will hold a press conference at 2 p.m. to answer rising questions about the COVID-19 pandemic and the vaccination process in the state.

NCDHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen and NCDHHS Division of Public Health Pharmacist Amanda Fuller Moore will speak at the press conference.

In the meantime, the health department released the following statement about the federal recommendations to pause administration of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine:

"Our primary concern is the health and safety of all North Carolinians. Out of an abundance of caution, we are following the recommendations of the FDA and CDC and have paused the administration of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine until we learn more. The safety system in place is working as it should. If you have an appointment for Pfizer or Moderna, please go to your appointment as planned. If you have an appointment for Johnson & Johnson, your appointment will be re-scheduled."

10:20 a.m.
Some North Carolina providers are pausing Johnson & Johnson vaccinations after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration said they were investigating reports of potentially dangerous blood clots.

The agencies said they were investigating clots in six women that occurred in the days after vaccination. The clots were observed along with reduced platelet counts - making the usual treatment for blood clots, the blood thinner heparin, potentially "dangerous."

Read more about the local impact here.

7:35 a.m.
The Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are now calling for a halt to the use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.

The regulatory agencies recommended a pause to the use of the vaccine so more research can be done into blood clotting that has been seen in a small number of people who also received the vaccine.

Just days ago, the CDC reassured North Carolina that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was safe after a handful of people were rushed to the hospital after having reactions to it.

7:20 a.m.
Regal Theatres are beginning to reopen in North Carolina.

The company announced that the following central North Carolina locations would reopen May 7:

  • Cary - Regal Crossroads & IMAX
  • Garner - Regal White Oak
  • Raleigh-Durham - Regal North Hills
  • Raleigh-Durham - Regal Brier Creek


The Regal Beaver Creek location is scheduled to reopen May 14.

TUESDAY MORNING HEADLINES
It's getting easier to get a COVID-19 vaccine in North Carolina, but that may not be all good news.

Multiple hospitals in the region are reporting thousands of open vaccine appointments. They fear demand for the vaccine is dwindling.

When the vaccines first became available, people were competing to get appointments. Waitlists at times were reportedly tens of thousands of people long.

Now, there are very few waitlists remaining.

This would be great news if the waitlists had been eradicated due to a massive increase in vaccine supply. However, while vaccine supply has undoubtedly increased significantly, 70 percent of North Carolinians still have not been fully vaccinated.

"The weather is warmer, people are out and about more. A lot of people are thinking the pandemic is kind of behind us, but it's still very much in front of us. We still need folks to get in line, roll their sleeves up and get the vaccine," Chris Tart of Cape Fear Valley Health said.

Health officials fear another spike in cases could occur if communities do not reach herd immunity levels of vaccination. The specific vaccination percentage needed for herd immunity varies from virus to virus. For example, 95% is needed for measles while just 80% is needed for polio. The percentage needed for COVID-19 is not yet known.

The coronavirus variant first reported in the UK is more transmissible but not more severe, according to two new studies.

North Carolina saw its highest number of new positive COVID-19 cases for a Monday since the beginning of March. The percentage of positive tests also climbed to 6.9%.

MONDAY
5:09 p.m.
Duke Health said it has open appointment slots for vaccinations. To sign up for a vaccine through Duke Health, click here.

4:04 p.m.
Appointments are available in Halifax County for anyone ages 18 and older who wants a COVID-19 vaccination. Appointments are preferred however, walk-ups are accepted.

  • For a Johnson and Johnson (J&J) vaccine event Thursday at the Old Commissioners' Meeting Building, 2 North King Street in Halifax, sign up here. The clinic is from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m
  • For a first-dose Moderna vaccination event Saturday at the Tillery Chapel Missionary Baptist Church at 40 Community Road in Halifax, sign up here. The clinic is from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • For a second-dose Moderna vaccination event on April 29, 2021 at the Pleasant Grove Baptist Church at 4531 NC 43 in Hollister, sign up here. The clinic is from noon to 7 p.m.


Rural Health Group at their Halifax Medical Specialists location at 270 Smith Church Road in Roanoke Rapids will offer first dose Moderna vaccine to all groups every Monday and Tuesday during the month of April. Registration is required.

3:59 p.m.
The Lee County Government Health Department confirmed 48 new cases since last Monday for a total of 5,776 residents who have tested positive for COVID-19.

The county reports 76 deaths attributed to COVID-19.

12:45 p.m.
On Saturday, April 17, beginning at 10 a.m. free testing will be available at Cary First Christian Church, 1109 Evans Road in Cary. The event will be paired with food distribution and community resources for families.

12:15 p.m.
Monday's report from the NCDHHS included 1,469 newly-reported COVID-19 cases. 904 people were hospitalized.

The daily percent positive rate was 6.9%.

41.1% of adults are at least partially vaccinated. 30.1% of the adult population is fully vaccinated.

Sadly, 12,290 people have died since the start of the pandemic.

10:45 a.m.
Cape Fear Valley Health fears COVID-19 vaccine supply is outpacing demand.

The Fayetteville-based health provider said this week's COVID-19 vaccine appointments are only 15 percent filled. These are appointments to get the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. Johnson and Johnson vaccine supplies are more sporadic, so Cape Fear Valley Health has been using them at the walk-in clinic when available.

"The Johnson and Johnson supply is sporadic, so we can't plan it week to week like we can with Moderna and Pfizer," Vice President of Professional Services at Cape Fear Valley Health Chris Tart said. "We do hope that people step up to take whatever vaccine they're most comfortable with, but relying on the availability at walk-in clinics cannot be the answer for everyone who still needs a vaccine at this point."

Cape Fear Valley Health said it had around 2,300 spaces still available for people who want to get vaccinated.

Any adult interested in getting a COVID-19 vaccine can click here to schedule an appointment with Cape Fear Valley Health.

9:55 a.m.
The Johnston County Health Department scheduled a first dose drive-thru clinic on Wednesday, April 14th from 8 a.m. until supplies last at Corinth Holders High School located at 6875 Applewhite Road, Wendell, NC 27591.

The Health Department will be administering the Pfizer vaccine (16 years of age and up) at the clinic. Individuals under the age of 18 need an adult present to receive the vaccine.

9:45 a.m.
Wake County Public Health will not administer Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines at any of its four mass vaccination sites.

However, the health department will instead be utilizing smaller strike teams to distribute the one-shot vaccine strategically throughout the week.

This announcement comes a few days after Wake County paused the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine after a handful of allergic reactions to it. The CDC has since reaffirmed the vaccines safety.

MONDAY MORNING HEADLINES
Some local grocery stores are now offering the COVID-19 vaccine.

Marking the first full week of eligibility for all adults in North Carolina, many Harris Teeter and Publix locations in the state will begin offering vaccination appointments.

The supply of vaccines continues to ramp up. Pfizer and Moderna received FDA emergency use authorization in December; early shipments saw about 80,000 doses per week. Now, some 220 million Americans are expected to be vaccinated by May--with another 100 million by June.

Wake County Health Department could consider adding walk-in availability to its vaccination sites in the coming weeks or months.

In addition, more schools are opening classrooms to more students.

Cumberland and Johnston county districts begin in-person learning for K-12 students.

Both school districts will have students in person all week, except for Wednesday, which will be a remote learning day.

All students are still required to wear face coverings and use as much physical distance as possible.
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