Vials of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The use of this particular vaccine has been halted temporarily. Justin Tallis/AFP via Getty Images/The Conversation).
State health officials on Thursday extended a statewide halt on the administration of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine until April 24 or until updated federal guidance is received.
The halt was first announced Tuesday, after federal health officials recommended states stop administering the vaccine until the Centers for Disease Control and Food and Drug Administration could review six reports of blood clots in vaccine recipients, all of whom identified as women.
In a statement Thursday, the Pennsylvania Department of Health confirmed that the six cases, including one death, occurred in recipients between the age of 18 and 48 and have affected six of the more than 6.8 million people who have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine nationally.
While the department did not provide specifics, it did confirm that one of the six reported blood clot cases involved a Pennsylvania woman who received treatment for the condition at a New Jersey Hospital.
In Pennsylvania, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine accounts for 247,063 doses of the 6.6 million COVID-19 vaccinations administered statewide, according to Department of Health data.
Despite the cessation of Johnson & Johnson vaccines, acting state Health Secretary Alison Beam encouraged Pennsylvanians to receive either a Moderna or Pfizer inoculation.
“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,” Beam said in a statement. “I urge individuals who have appointments scheduled to receive a Pfizer or Moderna vaccination to keep those appointments.”
Pennsylvanians who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and develop reactions such as headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath have been asked to contact their healthcare provider.
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