State health officials pause administration of J&J vaccine

Officials say none of reported 6 cases are known to be linked to Massachusetts

BOSTON — The Massachusetts Department of Public Health followed the advice of federal authorities on Tuesday and ordered a stop to the administration of the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine.

“The Department of Public Health is notifying all Massachusetts providers to pause administration of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, effective immediately,” the agency said in a tweet.

In a joint statement Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration said they were investigating clots in six women that occurred in the days after vaccination.

More than 181,000 people in Massachusetts have received the J&J vaccine as of Monday, according to state data.

More than 6.8 million doses of the J&J vaccine have been administered in the U.S., the vast majority with no or mild side effects.

CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will meet Wednesday to discuss the clotting cases. The FDA has launched an investigation into the cause of the clots.

The COVID-19 Command Center sent Boston 25 News the following:

“In response to today’s recommendation from the FDA and CDC to pause J&J vaccines due to an extremely rare condition reported in 6 individuals nationwide, the Department of Public Health directed all providers to immediately pause administration of the J&J vaccine until federal health experts investigate this matter. This action is being taken out of an abundance of caution as the FDA and CDC review these 6 cases, none of which are known to be linked to Massachusetts. The FDA has reported over 6.8M doses of J&J have been administered nationwide. Individuals who have received a J&J vaccine should contact their physician if they have concerns.” - Command Spokesperson

Background:

  • The FDA has reported that as of 4/12, 6.8m+ doses of the J&J vaccine have been administered in the U.S. CDC & FDA are reviewing data involving 6 reported U.S. cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot in individuals after receiving the vaccine. Right now, these conditions appear to be extremely rare.
  • As of April 12th, 181,034 doses of J&J have been administered in Massachusetts.
  • CDC will convene a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) on Wednesday to further review these cases and assess their potential significance. FDA will review that analysis as it also investigates these
  • Individuals that have appointments scheduled for a J&J vaccine that have questions about their upcoming appointment should contact the provider they booked with directly.
  • Individuals are encouraged to contact their physician if they have received the J&J vaccine and have concerns.

White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeff Zients released a statement, saying:

“This announcement will not have a significant impact on our vaccination plan: Johnson & Johnson vaccine makes up less than 5 percent of the recorded shots in arms in the United States to date. Over the last few weeks, we have made available more than 25 million doses of Pfizer and Moderna each week, and in fact this week we will make available 28 million doses of these vaccines. This is more than enough supply to continue the current pace of vaccinations of 3 million shots per day, and meet the President’s goal of 200 million shots by his 100th day in office—and continue on to reach every adult who wants to be vaccinated.” - Coordinator Jeff Zients


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