RI to ‘pause’ J&J vaccine after US recommendation over clot reports

Coronavirus vaccine. Photo courtesy U.S. Air National Guard

by ZEKE MILLER, The Associated Press and WPRO News

 The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) is announcing that Rhode Island is pausing administration of Johnson & Johnson vaccine as federal partners continue gathering more information. No Johnson & Johnson appointments had been scheduled for release today. RIDOH is directing vaccinators that had made Johnson & Johnson vaccination appointments to not administer those doses.

No information reported to RIDOH has indicated that Johnson & Johnson vaccine represents a health or safety concern. However, RIDOH is taking this step in alignment with federal partners.

The U.S. is recommending a “pause” in administration of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to investigate reports of potentially dangerous blood clots.

In a joint statement Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration said it was investigating clots in six women in the days after vaccination, in combination with reduced platelet counts. More than 6.8 million doses of the J&J vaccine have been administered in the U.S.

U.S. federal distribution channels, including mass vaccination sites, will pause the use of the J&J shot, and states and other providers are expected to follow.

CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will meet Wednesday to discuss the cases and the FDA has also launched an investigation of the cases.

“Until that process is complete, we are recommending a pause in the use of this vaccine out of an abundance of caution,” Dr. Anne Schuchat, Principal Deputy Director of the CDC and Dr. Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research said in a joint statement.