With OK from experts, some states resume use of J&J vaccine

With a green light from federal health officials, several states resumed the use of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine on Saturday

By DAVID CRARY, AP National Writer

April 24, 2021, 6:30 PM

• 3 min read

NEW YORK — With a green light from federal health officials, several states resumed using the one-shot Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine on Saturday. Among the venues where it was being deployed: was the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Among the other states ordering or recommending a resumption, along with Indiana, were New York, Virginia, Missouri, Michigan, Arizona, and Tennessee. Those moves came swiftly after U.S. health officials said Friday evening that they were lifting an 11-day pause on vaccinations using the J&J vaccine. Scientific advisers decided the vaccine’s benefits outweigh a rare risk of a blood clot during the break.

“The state of New York will resume administration of this vaccine at all of our state-run sites effective immediately,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement Saturday morning. “The vaccine is the weapon that will win the war against COVID and allow everyone to resume normalcy, and we have three proven vaccines at our disposal,” Cuomo said, urging New York residents to take whichever one is available to them first. “The sooner we all get vaccinated, the sooner we can put the long COVID nightmare behind us once and for all,” he said.

The Indiana Department of Health announced the resumption of a free COVID-19 mass vaccination clinic Saturday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, offering the J&J vaccine to anyone 18 or older. The clinic will be operating at least through April 30, when there will be a family vaccination day at which 16- and 17-year-olds also be vaccinated. “I can’t think of a better way to welcome the month of May in Indiana than getting your vaccine this week at the Yard of Bricks,” said Dr. Chris Weaver, chief clinical officer for Indiana University Health, partnering with the state in running the speedway clinic.

Virginia health officials also told providers to resume using the J&J vaccine immediately. “This extra scrutiny should instill confidence in the system in place to guarantee COVID-19 vaccine safety,” said Dr. Danny Avula, the state’s vaccine coordinator. “As with any vaccine, we encourage individuals to educate themselves on any potential side effects and to weigh that against the possibility of hospitalization or death from COVID-19.”” Avula received the J&J vaccine himself on April 1. Missouri officials made a similar announcement, saying providers with Jthe &J vaccine in stock can immediately begin administering it and that shipments from the federal government will resume next week.

Just over 105,000 doses of J&J had been administered in Missouri before the pause. In Michigan, where local health departments have a crucial role in vaccination decision-making, the state’s chief medical executive, Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, recommended resuming the J&J vaccine. The federal government uncovered 15 vaccine recipients who developed a highly unusual blood clot out of nearly 8 million people given the J&J shot. All were women, most under age 50. Three died, and seven remain hospitalized. But ultimately, federal health officials decided that J&J’s one-and-done vaccine is critical to fighting the pandemic — and that the small clot risk could be handled with warnings to help younger women determine if they should use that shot or an alternative. Associated Press reporters in multiple states across the U.S. contributed to this report.

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