BOSTON — The CDC says it may need a week or more to investigate reports of blood clots that could be connected to the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. That means the pause on the rollout will remain in effect for now. Pharmacies like CVS are alerting patients who recently received the shot to give them more information about the decision to stop handing out the vaccine.
Despite the loss, the state says it is still on track to fully vaccinate two million people by the end of this week. State data shows more than 1,875,000 people have been fully vaccinated.
About 200,000 of those got the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, but Governor Charlie Baker says even before the pause they were expecting a big decrease in doses over the next couple of weeks.
On the other hand, Pfizer and Moderna’s supplies are increasing. The state is expecting 340,000 doses this week and about eight percent more next week, leading to an overall optimistic picture.
“We are basically on track with where we thought we were going to be back in December despite some of the bumps along the way,” said Governor Charlie Baker.
The state admits not getting the Johnson and Johnson doses will complicate efforts to get vaccines to hard-to-reach populations, including those who are homebound, but Health and Human Services Secretary Mary Lou Sudders says they’ll get the two-dose shots to those people if they can’t get the Johnson and Johnson shot back in the mix.
The pause in Johnson and Johnson comes just four days before every Massachusetts resident 16 and up will become eligible to book an appointment. About 1.5 million residents signed up through the state’s preregistration system, but the governor said 300,000 have since dropped out. The governor said that shows they likely went elsewhere, like a pharmacy or regional collaborative to get a shot. By the end of this week, four more regional collaboratives will be added to the pre-registration system, including a location in Northborough.
It could still take weeks for those who preregistered to get the alert that they can make an appointment. The governor said the state is noticing some people haven’t been booking the first appointment when alerted by the system, but tend to secure it on the second offering.
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