The state of Connecticut is pausing the administration of the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine for the time being while the FDA and CDC investigate reports of potentially dangerous blood clots.
In a joint statement issued on Tuesday morning, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration said they were investigating unusual clots in six women that occurred 6 to 13 days after vaccination. The 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 state Department of Public Health said the CDC, FDA and Connecticut DPH all take vaccine safety extremely seriously.
The reports appear similar to a rare, unusual type of clotting disorder that European authorities say is possibly linked to another COVID-19 vaccine not yet cleared in the U.S., from AstraZeneca.
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.
The Connecticut Department of Public Health said roughly 100,000 Connecticut residents have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and there are no reports of serious adverse events.
Johnson & Johnson released a statement on Tuesday, saying, "(t)he safety and well-being of the people who use our products is our number one priority."
"We are aware of an extremely rare disorder involving people with blood clots in combination with low platelets in a small number of individuals who have received our COVID-19 vaccine. The United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are reviewing data involving six reported U.S. cases out of more than 6.8 million doses administered. Out of an abundance of caution, the CDC and FDA have recommended a pause in the use of our vaccine," the company said in a statement.
Johnson & Johnson is also reviewing the cases with European health authorities and made the decision to proactively delay the rollout of the vaccine in Europe.
Gov. Ned Lamont held a briefing at noon to talk about the federal recommendation and said there is a one in a million chance of having the severe side effects.
Lamont said the state of Connecticut will get extra doses next week of Pfizer and Moderna. Mobile clinics that have been utilizing the J&J vaccine will switch to the other options for the time being.
Dr. Deidre Gifford, the acting commissioner of the Department of Public Health, said that she is not aware of any of the six reported cases of complications being in Connecticut.
She urges anyone who does experience severe side effects to contact their provider.
Gifford reinforced the benefits of getting a COVID-19 vaccine.
Josh Geballe, the commissioner of the Department of Administrative Services and the state’s chief operating officer, is also taking part in the briefing.
What to Know If You Have Side Effects After J&J Vaccine
The Connecticut Department of Public Health said that although these side effects are extremely rare, the FDA and CDC recommend that people who have received the J&J vaccine who develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination should contact their health care provider.
"Although the reported complications are extremely rare, we will await the results of the investigation before proceeding with further use of the J&J vaccine." the CT Department of Public Health said in a statement.
The state has informed vaccine providers that were planning to hold clinics using Johnson & Johnson vaccines today and in the coming days to delay the clinics or offer an alternative vaccine if they have alternative vaccines available. The state will work with providers to minimize the disruptions, but expects there will be some cancellations.
The state is also encouraging providers to reach out to anyone scheduled to go to a Johnson & Johnson vaccine clinic and let them know that their appointment will need to be rescheduled once the FDA and CDC have recommended resuming administration of the J&J vaccine.
Some vaccine clinics have been canceled, while others that were scheduled to administer the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be using another.
The FEMA mobile unit, which is in New Britain, will hold its scheduled clinic today at 95 Wildwood St. from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and is switching to the Pfizer vaccine.
Appointments will be honored and walk-up registrations for New Britain residents are welcome, according to the mayor's office.
Hartford HealthCare said it has halted the use of Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
“We have adjusted our vaccine distribution in every one of our vaccines clinics to provide only Pfizer and Moderna products,” Dr. James Cardon, Hartford HealthCare’s Chief Clinical Integration Officer, said in a statement. “As always, safety is our first priority and we immediately followed the guidance of federal health agencies while the health concerns with J&J are being thoroughly investigated.”
The City of New Haven is pausing using the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.
“Due to the recent findings with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the today’s mobile vaccination clinic in partnership with Griffin Health is postponed until tomorrow, Wednesday, April 14. The remainder of the clinics scheduled for this week were not affected. Each clinic scheduled for this week will use Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. The Health Department site at Career High School is only offering Pfizer and Moderna vaccines,” New Haven Director of Public Health, Maritza Bond, said in a statement.
The Johnson & Johnson pop-up clinic in New Haven, today with Griffin Health, was rescheduled to tomorrow, Wednesday, April 14. The New Haven Health Department will continue to use the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines at all clinics.
“In an abundance of caution, we are pausing the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine indefinitely,” New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker said in a statement. “Until we have further clearance from the CDC and authorization from the State regarding the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the City will be using the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines at all COVID-19 clinics in New Haven.”
For more information on COVID-19 vaccinations, visit the City website at covid19.newhavenct.gov.
A statement on the New Haven Department of Health’s Facebook page said the mobile clinic scheduled for today, Casa de Oracion y Adoracion at 555 Columbus Ave., will resume later this week with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
They said the health department site at Career High School is only offering Pfizer and Moderna.
Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said that the city will continue its mobile clinics and walkup clinics, administering Pfizer and Moderna in place of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine as originally planned.
"If you've got an appointment, keep that appointment," Bronin said.
Bronin added that the city had plans for significant expansions to the vaccine rollout this week and intend to continue that plan. He stressed that the number of reported complications from the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was "extraordinarily" small and that the public should have confidence that the decision to pause was made out of an abundance of caution.
"If anything I think this should give people even more confidence because it is clear that they are being extraordinarily careful and extraordinarily forcused on safety," Bronin said of the FDA decision.
For a list of available mobile clinics, click here.
The City of Bridgeport Department of Public Health will discontinue administering the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine after the federal government recommended a “pause” in the administration of the single-dose vaccine to investigate reports of potentially dangerous blood clots.
Waterbury Mayor Neil O'Leary, said the mobile vaccination clinics scheduled for today at the NRZ WOW Community Center and the North End Rec Center will not be opening today due to unforeseen circumstances.
The Town of Vernon has a mobile clinic at the Hockanum Valley Community Council from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today and we will be switching from the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to the Moderna vaccine.
U.S. federal distribution channels, including mass vaccination sites, will pause the use of the J&J shot.
The other two authorized vaccines, from Moderna and Pfizer, make up the vast share of COVID-19 shots administered in the U.S. and are not affected by the pause.
Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim said Tuesday morning that the City of Bridgeport Department of Public Health will discontinue administering the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine following recent news reports of possible blood clots.
“Safety and confidence in the vaccine is paramount. Unless, or until we are 100% confident in the J & J vaccine, we will pause its use,” Ganim said in a statement.
He said the city will be working closely with the state and health officials for further advisement while Bridgeport’s DPH Clinics continue to administer the Moderna vaccine.
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The Stratford Health Department will be offering Moderna for the homebound program and for their COVID-19 pop-up vaccine clinic scheduled for today.
They are awaiting the results of the investigation before proceeding with future use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at additional clinics.
Stratford residents with questions can call the health department at 203-385-4090.