The Pennsylvania Department of Health notified all COVID-19 vaccine providers that the pause in administering doses of the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine will be extended until April 24, or until updated guidance is provided from the CDC and FDA.
Earlier this week, the department recommended a pause in administering Johnson & Johnson vaccine until April 20 to give the CDC and FDA time to review six incidents of rare blood clots that occurred within two weeks of receiving Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
In Bucks County, all remaining appointments this week at the Warwick Square mass vaccination site are being postponed. The county is working to reschedule this week’s appointments on a two-week delay, offering the same time and day of the week as before. Of Bucks County’s five mass vaccination sites, Warwick Square was the only one administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The others have been using the two-dose Pfizer vaccine.
The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices held an emergency meeting yesterday that ended without taking a vote to change the current recommendation to pause administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Another meeting is expected within 10 days.
During the meeting, the CDC acknowledged that one of the six cases being studied involves a 26-year-old Pennsylvania woman who recovered after treatment at a New Jersey hospital. The CDC is not releasing personal information in the case.
These six cases occurred in women between 18 and 48 who were among the 6.8 million Americans who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Out of the more than 6.6 million vaccine doses that have been administered in Pennsylvania, 247,063 have been Johnson & Johnson.
“The safety procedures built into the vaccination process are working and should instill confidence in the safety and effectiveness of the available COVID-19 vaccines,” said Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam. “I urge individuals who have appointments scheduled to receive a Pfizer or Moderna vaccination to keep those appointments.”
People who have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine who develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness of breath within three weeks of their vaccination should contact their healthcare provider. Click here for more information.
The department has also sent communications to stakeholder groups and others who have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine as part of a special vaccination initiative to vaccinate teachers and school staff.