State Department of Health Follows CDC, Lifts J & J Pause


HARRISBURG  – The Pennsylvania Department of Health is now falling in line with the federal CDC guidelines for Johnson and Johnson vaccine, saying it is safe to use, and blood clots are rare. The state issued new guidance to health care providers and vaccinators overnight indicating that blood clots are exceedingly rare, and the vaccine is safe and effective.

Earlier, both the federal, and then the state governments, called for a pause in the J & J vaccine while cases of blood clots were investigated. Now they say the cases of the combined rare blood clots with low platelet counts occurred in women primarily between the ages 18 and 48. The state is not issuing any particular warning or additional guidance on the vaccine.

The state says about 3.5% of the doses administered in Pennsylvania were with the J & J vaccine, the acting state health secretary said, “We continue to urge individuals to get vaccinated as soon as possible with any of the three vaccines available to them.”


Here is the full statement from the state Department of Health news:

Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Health today notified all COVID-19 vaccine providers that the pause in administering doses of the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine has been lifted. The move follows updated guidance announced today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Last week, the department recommended the pause in administering Johnson & Johnson vaccine until further guidance from the CDC and FDA was available as the federal agencies continued to review the incidents of rare blood clots that occurred within two weeks of receiving Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices held an emergency meeting Friday, determining that these incidents are extremely rare, and that the vaccine is safe and effective for all individuals moving forward.
The cases of the combined rare blood clots with low platelet counts occurred in women primarily between the ages 18 and 48 who were among the 6.8 million Americans who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Out of the more than 7.6 million vaccine doses that have been administered in Pennsylvania, only 271,132 doses have been Johnson & Johnson.
This latest announcement shows that the federal oversight process of a vaccine’s safety and effectiveness is working, and all steps are being taken to protect Americans.
“After a thorough review, federal experts have determined that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is safe for all individuals,” Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam said. Getting vaccinated is essential as we work to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and also of serious and fatal complications due to the virus.”
Individuals who receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine who develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness of breath within three weeks of their vaccination should still contact their health care provider. For more information, find the CDC/FDA announcement online at:
The department has sent communications to vaccine providers, stakeholder groups and others announcing the resumption of the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the effort to vaccinate Pennsylvanians.
It is important for all Pennsylvanians to remember they have a choice as to which of the three safe and effective vaccines they receive.
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