FLORENCE — Pinal County has stopped providing the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine until further notice after federal and state health officials recommended a “pause” Tuesday.
Pinal County Public Health Services told its community partner clinics that it has paused administering the vaccine, also known as the Janssen vaccine, “out of an abundance of caution,” and advised its partners to do likewise. The full message can be seen on the county’s vaccination page.
A J&J clinic that had been scheduled in Coolidge Tuesday was canceled. The county reported more information would be forthcoming on rescheduling or other vaccination choices.
Federal health officials said Tuesday six female patients developed rare but severe blood clots. The Arizona Department of Health Services also announced Tuesday it is recommending a pause in use of the vaccine, based on the federal guidance.
To date in Arizona, 226,300 doses of the J&J vaccine have been allocated and approximately 122,000 doses have been given. Providers may still administer it if they believe it is clinically appropriate after a discussion with the patient, ADHS said.
Pinal County Public Health recommended that patients who have received the J&J vaccine seek medical care if they develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness of breath within three weeks after the vaccination.
It further advised patients to report adverse effects after any COVID vaccine to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System at https://vaers.hhs.gov/faq.html . Anyone with an appointment to receive the J&J vaccine was advised to contact the provider for more information or to learn about the availability of other vaccines.
In a joint statement Tuesday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration said they were investigating blood clots in six women that occurred 6 to 13 days after vaccination. The rare but severe clots occurred in veins that drain blood from the brain and occurred together with low platelets. All six cases were in women between the ages of 18 and 48.
The reports appear similar to a rare clotting disorder that European authorities say is possibly linked to another COVID-19 vaccine not yet cleared in the U.S., from AstraZeneca.