Kansas will pause administration of Johnson & Johnson vaccine following CDC announcement

photo by: AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File

In this March 26, 2021, file photo, a member of the Philadelphia Fire Department prepares a dose of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination site setup at a Salvation Army location in Philadelphia. U.S. health regulators on Tuesday, April 13, is recommending a “pause” in using the vaccine to investigate reports of potentially dangerous blood clots.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment said it will pause administration of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine following an announcement from national health organizations on Tuesday morning.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that six recipients of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the United States developed a rare disorder involving blood clots within about two weeks of vaccination. More than 6.8 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have been administered in the United States.

“Just as important as getting vaccines into arms — is making sure those vaccines are safe,” Governor Laura Kelly said in the release. “While this appears to have affected six people in the nearly seven million doses administered, out of an abundance of caution, Kansas will suspend Johnson and Johnson until the CDC and FDA clear it for use again. In the meantime, we anticipate our shipments of Pfizer and Moderna to continue and we will build on the one-third of Kansans who have already received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.”

The six cases that involved blood clots all occurred among women between the ages of 18 and 48. Symptoms occurred six to 13 days after vaccination, according to a joint statement from the CDC and the FDA. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) said none of the six cases that involved blood clots was found in Kansas.

KDHE is asking that all vaccine suppliers in the state pause administration of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and put the supply in storage until further guidance is given. George Diepenbrock, spokesperson for Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health, said the Pfizer vaccine would be administered at all of the mass vaccination clinics that were scheduled at the Douglas County Fairgrounds in the next two weeks.

“We have no planned Johnson & Johnson clinics at this time, so we are at a good place for pausing and waiting for additional guidance CDC, FDA and KDHE can provide on this,” Diepenbrock said in an email to the Journal-World.

The federal government will study links between the vaccine and the rare blood clotting disorder. The CDC will have an emergency meeting of its Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices on Wednesday.

Those who have received a Johnson & Johnson vaccine should contact their health care provider if they start to develop symptoms such as severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness of breath within three weeks of vaccination.


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