The Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) today announced it is recommending a pause in the use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The CDC and FDA are recommending a pause in the use of the 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 individuals after receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
So far in Arizona, 226,300 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have been allocated in Arizona, with approximately 122,000 administered. ADHS is working with local public health departments and community partners to communicate the recommended pause in Johnson & Johnson vaccine administration. People who had appointments to receive the Johnson & Johnson can schedule an appointment for the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine online at azdhs.gov/findvaccine while Johnson & Johnson vaccine administration is paused. Providers may still administer the Johnson & Johnson vaccine if they feel it is clinically appropriate after a discussion with their patient.
“While the occurrence of this rare blood clot are extremely rare compared to the number of doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine administered nationwide, we are following the guidance of the CDC and FDA out of an abundance of caution and we will continue to work with our federal and statewide partners about the status of the vaccine,” said Dr. Cara Christ, ADHS director. “The COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective and is one of the best tools we have to reduce the spread of the disease in Arizona. I encourage everyone to get vaccinated against COVID-19.”
According to the CDC, all six cases of the blood clot cases were in women between the ages of 18 and 48. Symptoms occurred 6 to 13 days after vaccination. People 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 health care provider. The federal Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will meet on Wednesday and will provide further guidance to states.
Information about all vaccination sites across Arizona can be found at azhealth.gov/findvaccine. At 11 a.m. every Friday, ADHS makes appointments available at state-run sites for the following week. Registration for these and many other sites is available at podvaccine.azdhs.gov or by calling 844-542-8201 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m, 7 days a week. Both resources offer assistance in English and Spanish.