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Oklahoma health leaders ask all vaccine sites to stop use of Johnson & Johnson vaccine


OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Following a recommendation by the Food and Drug Administration, state leaders in Oklahoma say they are asking all vaccine sites across the state to stop using the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.

On Tuesday, the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a statement, calling for a pause in the use of the Johnson & Johnson single shot COVID-19 vaccine out of an abundance of caution.

So far, officials say more than 6.8 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in the United States.

Health leaders say they are investigating after six people developed a rare and severe type of blood clot after receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Officials say the CDC will hold a meting of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices on Wednesday to further review the cases. The FDA will then review that analysis.

“Until that process is complete, we are recommending this pause. This is important to ensure that the health care provider community is aware of the potential for these adverse events and can plan due to the unique treatment required with this type of blood clot,” the FDA posted on Twitter.

Shortly after the announcement, the Oklahoma State Department of Health said it was asking all vaccine sites in the state to stop giving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine until the federal agency’s investigation is complete.

“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.” 

So far, Oklahoma has administered 62,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Oklahomans who have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine who develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness of breath within three weeks after their vaccination should contact their healthcare provider.

If you have already scheduled an appointment for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, OSDH is working with those providers to offer Pfizer and Moderna vaccines as alternatives.

“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.”

Officials say after next week’s allocation comes in, the state will have over 500,000 doses of Moderna and Pfizer vaccine available.

“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.”

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