Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Pause Lifted, May be Available in Conn. Now

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The Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine is back in the mix again. It was put on pause a little less than two weeks ago when at least six women had rare blood clots after getting the shot and one of them died.

In Connecticut, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine could be put back to use as early as Saturday. Dept. of Public Health spokesperson Maura Fitzgerald said its use depends on if a provider chooses to put it back into rotation or not. She suggests calling your provider to see if it is being used.

Federal health officials meet Friday to discuss the pause of using the J&J Janssen coronavirus vaccine. The pause was because of extremely rare blood clots in some patients. Could the vaccine return to market with the right disclaimer or message of caution? Peter Pitts, former FDA associate commissioner, explains.

Last night, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lifted the pause and approved the vaccine to go back into use.

"This pause and review will hopefully give people confidence that we take the safety of these vaccines very seriously and are committed to ensuring that they meet the highest safety and effectiveness standards," Conn. Acting Dept. of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Deidre Gifford said in part in a statement on Saturday.

Health officials have advised adding a warning about the increased risk of "very rare, but severe blood clots." That would require an update to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's emergency use authorization for the vaccine.

A federal government advisory committee will meet to review if and how the Johnson & Johnson vaccine can be used again.

All of this comes as the CDC has determined that ultimately the benefit of administering the vaccine outweighs the risk.

“So many people have gotten these vaccines. And while our safety systems that were in place were able to pick up this very small number of cases, and I think in the bigger picture, it's really still a very rare event," said Uconn Health Hospital Epidemiologist Dr. David Banach.

The thought process for many people up until the pause was that if you get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, it's a one stop shop. You get one dose and you are good to go. Health officials still see that as a benefit to help reach herd immunity quicker.

"If you have concerns about the vaccines, please talk to your healthcare provider. We have vaccine providers throughout the state with open appointments ready to vaccinate anyone who wants a shot and makes the choice to take one more step toward a return to normalcy," Gifford added in part.

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