PHOENIX — U.S. health officials have lifted an 11-day pause on Johnson & Johnson vaccinations following a recommendation by an expert panel.
Advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday the benefits of the single-dose COVID-19 shot outweigh a rare risk of blood clots.
The CDC and Food and Drug Administration decided that J&J’s vaccine is critical to fight the pandemic — and that the small clot risk could be handled with warnings to help younger women decide if they should use that shot or an alternative.
European regulators earlier this week made a similar decision, deciding the clot risk was small enough to allow rollout.
Following the pause being lifted, Arizona Department of Health Services has recommended resuming the use of the vaccine.
ADHS has released the following statement:
"After a thorough safety review and recommendation by federal partners, the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) is advising providers to resume use of the one-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today expressed confidence that the vaccine is safe and effective in preventing COVID-19.
The two federal agencies had recommended a pause in use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine based on six reported U.S. cases, out of 6.8 million doses administered nationally, of a rare and severe type of blood clot in vaccinated individuals. Today’s determination said available data suggest the chance of this reaction is very low, though the CDC and FDA said they will remain vigilant in continuing to investigate this risk.
“After recommending a pause out of an abundance of caution, we join our federal partners in encouraging everyone to get vaccinated against COVID-19 with the vaccine available to you,” ADHS Director Dr. Cara Christ said. “Arizonans can be confident that all COVID-19 vaccines approved for emergency use, including the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, have undergone a thorough review for safety and efficacy. The federal review will continue on all of the vaccines as more people are vaccinated.”
So far in Arizona, 226,300 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have been allocated, of which approximately 122,000 have been administered. During the pause, ADHS worked with local public health departments and community partners to make appointments available with the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines."