Missouri, Illinois pause use of Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine


ST. LOUIS – Missouri and Illinois both announced Tuesday they are pausing the administration of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) Janssen COVID-19 vaccine until further notice.

This comes after reports of six people suffering from a rare and severe type of blood clot within weeks of getting the single-dose shot. Approximately 6.8 million doses of the J&J vaccine have been administered nationwide.

Dr. Randall Williams, the director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, says this is out of an abundance of caution and per federal guidelines.

Missouri and Illinois health officials have notified COVID-19 vaccine providers to discontinue the J&J vaccine at this time.

“We anticipate having more information shortly to make further decisions about overall vaccine distribution in light of this new development and will continue to update citizens who have been vaccinated with the J&J vaccine after the advisory committee meets at the federal level tomorrow,” Williams said.

Some local agencies are scrambling to switch out the Johnson and Johnson vaccines at appointments.

The Pike County Health Department, along with other agencies, immediately followed the recommendation and say they immediately canceled plans to use the hundreds of doses they have on hand this week.

Since February, the Pike County Health Department has administered close to 4,000 vaccine doses and there have been no reports of any problems.

Officials say appointments for vaccines went on as planned Tuesday, but anyone who had scheduled a Johnson and Johnson vaccine was offered the Moderna version. 

IDPH says Moderna and Pfizer make up the vast majority of doses on hand in the state. This week’s allocation of J&J vaccine was 17,000.  For the week of April 18, 2021, the expected allocation for the State is 483,720 total doses. Of that total allocation, 5,800 doses were expected to be J&J.

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