Virginia to halt Johnson & Johnson vaccinations until FDA investigation is complete

Virginia is pausing its distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine after a recommendation from the Food & Drug Administration.

The FDA is recommending a “pause” in the administration of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to investigate reports of potentially dangerous blood clots. Six women reported the rare condition six to 13 days after vaccination.

More than 6.8 million doses of the J&J vaccine have been administered in the U.S., the vast majority with no or mild side effects. According to the Virginia Department of Health, the state has received 255,600 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine — making up around 5% of the state’s vaccinations.

Below is the full statement from Dr. Danny Avula, the state’s vaccination coordinator:

We are closely monitoring the actions by the federal government to pause all Johnson & Johnson vaccinations while it investigates an extremely rare possible side effect. In Virginia, we will cease all Johnson & Johnson vaccines until this investigation is complete. If you have an upcoming appointment for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, you will be contacted to reschedule that appointment.

This pause is reassuring in that it demonstrates that the systems that are in place to monitor vaccine safety are working. We look forward to a thorough review by federal health officials. Meantime, we will continue Virginia’s vaccine rollout at this time with the other two authorized vaccines, developed by Pfizer and Moderna.

Dr. Danny Avula, Virginia State Vaccination Coordinator

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