HARRISBURG, PA — The Pennsylvania Department of Health has notified all COVID-19 vaccine providers that the pause in administering doses of the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine has been lifted. The move follows updated guidance announced today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Earlier this month, the department recommended the pause in administering Johnson & Johnson vaccine until further guidance from the CDC and FDA was available as the federal agencies continued to review the incidents of rare blood clots that occurred within two weeks of receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices held an emergency meeting today, determining that these incidents are extremely rare, and that the vaccine is safe and effective for all individuals moving forward.
The cases of the combined rare blood clots with low platelet counts occurred in women primarily between the ages 18 and 48 who were among the 6.8 million Americans who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Out of the more than 7.6 million vaccine doses that have been administered in Pennsylvania, only 271,132 doses have been Johnson & Johnson.
This latest announcement shows that the federal oversight process of a vaccine’s safety and effectiveness is working, and all steps are being taken to protect Americans.
“After a thorough review, federal experts have determined that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is safe for all individuals,” Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam said. “We continue to urge individuals to get vaccinated as soon as possible with any of the three vaccines available to them. Getting vaccinated is essential as we work to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and also of serious and fatal complications due to the virus.”
Individuals who receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine who develop a severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness of breath within three weeks of their vaccination should still contact their health care provider.
The department has sent communications to vaccine providers, stakeholder groups and others announcing the resumption of the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the effort to vaccinate Pennsylvanians.
It is important for all Pennsylvanians to remember they have a choice as to which of the three safe and effective vaccines they receive.
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