OSDH asks all vaccine sites to immediately pause use of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines
CDC, FDA recommend pause over rare blood clot concerns
OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma State Department of Health announced today it has asked all vaccine sites across the state to immediately pause administration of the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine. This decision comes after the CDC and FDA recommendation early Tuesday morning that cited an occurrence of rare blood clotting responses in six Americans.
“Out of an abundance of caution, we have asked all of our vaccine sites to pause the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine immediately while we gather more information,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Lance Frye. “This type of potential adverse reaction following administration of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is extremely rare and has occurred in less than one in every million recipients. However, the health and safety of Oklahomans remains our top priority. We feel it best to pause administration of this vaccine in alignment with the CDC and FDA’s recommendation until more data on this potential adverse reaction is available.”
To date, Oklahoma has administered 62,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and will have over 500,000 doses of Moderna and Pfizer vaccine after next week’s allocation comes in. As of April 12, more than 6.8 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have been administered in the U.S.
“We have plenty of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine on hand to ensure that every Oklahoman who wants a vaccine can get one,” said Deputy Commissioner Keith Reed. “Safety of every Oklahoman is paramount, which is why we are pausing Johnson & Johnson vaccine administration while this is studied further. We have no reason to believe any Oklahomans have been affected by this rare response, but will continue to collect information and work closely with our partners to ensure Oklahomans are safe.”
Six cases of blood clot complications have occurred nationwide out of nearly seven million doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine administered. All cases are women in the 18-48 age range, and symptoms occurred within two weeks of vaccine administration.
Oklahomans who have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine who develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination should contact their healthcare provider. Healthcare providers are asked to report adverse events to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System at https://vaers.hhs.gov/reportevent.html.
The CDC will convene a meeting of its Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) on Wednesday to further review these cases and assess their potential significance. The FDA will review that analysis. Until that process is complete, the CDC is recommending a pause in the use of this vaccine.
For Oklahomans who already have scheduled Johnson & Johnson vaccine appointments, OSDH is working with those providers to offer Pfizer and Moderna vaccines as alternatives. Providers that currently don’t have Pfizer or Moderna on-hand will reach out to reschedule.
“This pause will have minimal impact on Oklahoma’s vaccine effort,” said Deputy Commissioner Reed. “Today’s action demonstrates the sensitivity of our monitoring system and our commitment to take any potential adverse reaction very seriously. After the administration of tens of millions of doses across the country, the Moderna and Pfizer vaccine have proven to be extremely safe. We continue to encourage all Oklahomans to get their shot to protect themselves and loved ones.”