The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Food and Drug Administration released a statement Tuesday recommending to pause the use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. Indiana followed this recommendation by halting its use in the state Tuesday.
The CDC and FDA recommend the pause because the vaccine after severe rare blood clots in six reported cases. 6.8 million people have already received the vaccine in the U.S. All were women between the ages of 18 and 48. The FDA said it will be investigating these cases and whether or not these blood clots are directly caused by the vaccine.
While some individuals who have received the J&J vaccine have experienced blood clots, it is proven that blood clotting is already a common and sometimes life-threatening side effect of COVID-19.
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway was planning to offer the J&J vaccine at another mass vaccination clinic Tuesday through Sunday. The Indiana State Department of Health announced Tuesday they will now be administering the Moderna vaccine, and the vaccination clinic will still take place. The Moderna vaccine will require a second appointment, unlike the J&J vaccine that only requires one dose.
ISDH Chief Medical Officer Lindsay Weaver said this decision could slow down the state’s vaccination efforts, but, as of Tuesday morning, 95% of people scheduled to receive the J&J vaccine at the speedway had decided to get the Moderna vaccine instead.
The ISDH will be assisting other clinics who have been administering the J&J vaccine in receiving Moderna and Pfizer doses.
IU Health Community Health Director Carol Weiss-Kennedy said she doesn’t think this hault will slow down vaccination rates for IU. The IU Health Retail Pharmacy in Bloomington has been providing J&J vaccines but plans to provide a different vaccine very soon, most likely be Pfizer, Weiss-Kennedy said, and IU Health will know more Wednesday about what vaccine the state will provide them with.
“Johnson & Johnson comes with side effects like all the others do,” Weiss-Kennedy said. “I would just encourage people to get vaccinated with whatever vaccination is best available to them. Even if you have to come in for a second dose, it’s a quick and easy process.”