Johnson & Johnson vaccine administration restarts in Pa. after federal pause

Vaccinate PA

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Pennsylvania is following federal guidance, notifying
all vaccine providers to resume administration of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Out of 7.9 million vaccine doses administered in Pennsylvania, only 271,132 have been Johnson & Johnson.

Experts stress that all three available vaccines are safe and effective.

Almost 7 million people received the J&J vaccine before the federal pause, with 15 women experiencing rare but serious blood clots in the brain.

“I think it was the right thing to do to review the data very carefully and put a temporary pause on the vaccine and now restart use of the vaccine after we’ve had a chance to analyze it,” said Dr. Graham Snyder, UMPC medical director of infection prevention and hospital epidemiology.

Snyder says despite the pause, the J&J vaccine remains safe and effective.

“The risk of, for example, clotting, having a blood clot in the lungs due to COVID is still higher than the risk of having a clot due to the vaccine,” Graham said.

We checked with several local providers to see when shots will start again.

Giant says its pharmacists resumed administration Saturday.

Rite Aid also said following CDC and FDA guidance that it will immediately resume administering its supply of the J&J vaccine in locations that currently have supply. As the chain learns more about future allocations, it will add the vaccine back into the online scheduling tool.

CVS expects to make appointments available starting next week, saying all warnings and precautions will be appropriately communicated.

As for UPMC, “I anticipate we’ll be able to do it very soon, this week because it’ll be a matter of turning on the scheduling for this particular vaccine, making sure we have it allocated to the right places to give the vaccine,” Snyder said.

While supply of Pfizer and Moderna far outweigh Johnson & Johnson, Snyder says having it back in circulation is key to putting the pandemic behind us.

As doctors have been saying all along, he recommends getting whichever vaccine is available, noting the safety and efficacy between the three are very comparable.

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