Riverside County announced Tuesday that it is pausing use of the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine, following guidance from the federal government.
Officials said 19,424 doses of the vaccine have been administered countywide, and there have been no reports of the “rare and severe” blood clot federal officials warned about Monday.
“We are taking this step because the health and safety of our residents is our No. 1 priority,” county Public Health Officer Dr. Geoffrey Leung said. “Although we have not seen any reactions like those described by the CDC, it is critical the public have the confidence of the safety of vaccines that we offer.”
People with appointments for county-run vaccination sites using the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will offered an alternative instead, officials said.
Additional doses of vaccines are directly allotted by the federal government to other providers in the county, such as pharmacies and large federally qualified health care centers, and it was unclear how many of those doses were Johnson & Johnson, but state officials said the percentage is very low.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the Food and Drug Administration recommended states pause use of the one-dose COVID-19 vaccine after six women between the ages of 18 and 48 developed a “rare and severe” blood clot called cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, according to a joint statement from the agencies. The women developed the clot six to 13 days after receiving a Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
The CDC will convene a meeting of its Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices on Wednesday to further review these cases and assess their potential significance.
“The safety and well-being of the people who use our products is our number one priority,” Johnson & Johnson said in a statement.
“We have been working closely with medical experts and health authorities, and we strongly support the open communication of this information to healthcare professionals and the public,” the company said. “The CDC and FDA have made information available about proper recognition and management due to the unique treatment required with this type of blood clot. The health authorities advise that people who have received our COVID-19 vaccine and develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination should contact their health care provider.”