FDA, CDC pause use of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine due to rare side effect, Oklahoma officials following recommendation

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WASHINGTON (KFOR) – As millions of Americans continue to be vaccinated against COVID-19 each week, officials with the Food and Drug Administration say they are concerned about one of the widely used vaccines.

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.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health is following the recommendations and asks that all vaccine sites in the state halt giving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at this time.

“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.” 

To date, Oklahoma has administered 62,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and will have over 500,000 doses of Moderna and Pfizer vaccine after next week’s allocation comes in. As of April 12, more than 6.8 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have been administered in the U.S.

“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.”

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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