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Pa. resumes use of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine

Randy Zerman of Lebanon gets a COVID-19 vaccination from Paula Sheaffer, a registered nurse from Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, at one of the Penn State Health dedicated vaccinations sites in Hershey on Monday, Feb. 22, 2021.

Pennsylvania has resumed use of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine, following a thorough federal review which reaffirmed the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness against the virus, according to the Harrisburg-based Hospital and Health System Association of Pennsylvania.

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommended lifting the a temporary pause imposed after a rare blood-clotting issue was reported in 15 cases among the 8 million people who received the one-dose vaccine.

During a meeting on April 23, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommended updating Johnson & Johnson’s emergency use authorization to include information about the risk for the rare blood-clotting issue, but reaffirmed the vaccine’s overall safety and effectiveness.

The ACIP reported that serious blood-clotting complications occurred in 15 women and no men since the vaccine’s approval in February.  The FDA updated its vaccine fact sheets to include a warning about the rare complications involving blood clots and low platelet counts that have been reported.

“We are confident that this vaccine continues to meet our standards for safety, effectiveness, and quality,” said Dr. Janet Woodcock, acting FDA commissioner in a statement. “We recommend people with questions about which vaccine is right for them have those discussions with their health care provider.”

To date, the Johnson and Johnson vaccine was administered to 300,000 people in Pennsylvania, according to HAP.  Roughly 9.1 million vaccines doses in total were administered in the commonwealth, this includes all vaccines brands, including Johnson & Johnson, Moderna and Pfizer.


Dawn Ouellette Nixon