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Utah lifts pause on J&J vaccine after CDC recommends continued use

Apr 24, 2021, 10:05 AM | Updated: 10:11 am
Utah J&J vaccine...
FILE - In this March 3, 2021, file photo, U.S. Army medic Kristen Rogers, of Waxhaw, N.C., holds a vial of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine in North Miami, Fla. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier, File)
(AP Photo/Marta Lavandier, File)

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Department of Health lifted its pause on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine Friday, just hours after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended the country continue its use. This comes more than a week after a temporary halt in distribution after reports of a rare type of blood clot in individuals who received the one-shot vaccine. 

UDOH reported it would resume J&J inoculations effective immediately. 

“For many Utahns, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is the best vaccine,” said Gov. Spencer Cox in a statement. “A single dose gives us the best chance of vaccinating people who are hard to reach by geography, those who are hard to reach because of personal schedules, those who might be less likely to return for a second shot, and even those who don’t like needles. We are relieved that these doses will rejoin our arsenal in the fight against COVID-19.” 

Utah resumes J&J vaccine distribution

This comes after fifteen females — out of more than 8 million people who received the J&J vaccine — experienced a rare blood-clotting disease, with three of them dying, according to the UDOH. 

During the 10-day pause, the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration examined available data to determine whether the country could safely resume its use. 

On Friday, the two agencies determined the vaccine is still safe and effective for preventing the spread of COVID-19. The FDA further deliberated the vaccine’s benefits outweigh the potential risks in individuals 18 and older. 

“Safety is our top priority. This pause was an example of our extensive safety monitoring working as they were designed to work—identifying even these small number of cases,” said Janet Woodcock, M.D., acting FDA commissioner in a statement. “We are confident that this vaccine continues to meet our standards for safety, effectiveness and quality. We recommend people with questions about which vaccine is right for them have those discussions with their health care provider.”

Federal health officials said information about the potential risks — particularly regarding the rare blood-clotting disorder that prompted the pause in distribution — should be provided at vaccination sites. J&J officials also agreed to adding a warning label to its vaccine, noting that “most cases” of the disorder occurred in women between 18 and 49 years old.

Healthcare providers are now permitted to use any J&J vaccines doses they still have on-hand, which the state health department estimates to be around 53,000. J&J is expected to resume shipping additional doses next week. 

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Utah lifts pause on J&J vaccine after CDC recommends continued use