Pharmacies & health systems pause Johnson & Johnson vaccinations
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration said on Tuesday that they are recommending a pause in the use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine out of an “abundance of caution” while reports of rare blood clots are being investigated.
The agencies are reviewing data from six reports in the U.S. of a rare and severe blood clot in people after receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
“Right now, these adverse events appear to be extremely rare. COVID-19 vaccine safety is a top priority for the federal government, and we take all reports of health problems following COVID-19 vaccination very seriously,” the agencies said.
The cases occurred in women between the ages of 18 and 48. Symptoms occurred between 6 and 13 days after vaccination, officials reported. One woman died and a second woman is in critical condition, said health officials in a joint media call on Tuesday.
Only six cases have been reported out of the more than six million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the U.S., health officials said.
Johnson & Johnson also released a statement on Tuesday:
“The safety and well-being of the people who use our products is our number one priority. We share all adverse event reports about individuals receiving our COVID-19 vaccine, along with our assessment of these reports, with health authorities in compliance with regulatory standards. We are aware that thromboembolic events including those with thrombocytopenia have been reported with COVID-19 vaccines. At present, no clear causal relationship has been established between these rare events and the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine. We continue to work closely with experts and regulators to assess the data and support the open communication of this information to healthcare professionals and the public.”
Below is a running list of each pharmacy and health system that is pausing Johnson & Johnson vaccinations, per the recommendation of the health agencies:
Publix is suspending the administration of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at all of its pharmacy locations. It’s unclear how this will affect weekly vaccination scheduling.
Prior to the FDA’s recommendation, Publix was scheduling appointments for the J&J vaccine on Wednesdays and for the Moderna vaccine on Fridays. No further information about Publix’s plan has been made available.
Patients can still register for a Moderna vaccine through Publix’s website.
A CVS Pharmacy spokesperson confirmed the company is immediately pausing its use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.
Due to this pause, we are emailing all customers who have a scheduled appointment to receive a Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine at CVS Pharmacy to inform them that their appointment is being cancelled.
We regret any inconvenience and will follow up with affected customers to reschedule their appointments as soon as possible.
Walmart will pause administering Johnson & Johnson vaccines. The big box store released the following statement:
As recommended by CDC and FDA, we immediately paused administration of the J&J vaccine until the federal government completes a thorough review. If someone has an appointment and we have a different vaccine, they will receive the one available. If not, we will cancel their appointment and rebook for a later date once supply allows.
Walgreens corporate spokesperson Erin Loverher released a statement on behalf of the company, saying Walgreens is immediately suspending the administration of the J&J vaccine at their stores and at off-site clinics.
See the full statement below:
“Following today’s recommendation from the FDA and CDC for a pause in the use of the J&J vaccine out of an abundance of caution, we are immediately suspending the administration of the J&J vaccine at our stores and off-site clinics and are awaiting further guidance. We are reaching out to patients with scheduled appointments and rescheduling vaccinations from other manufacturers, as supply allows.
We will continue to work closely with the FDA and CDC and as always, the health and safety of our patients and customers is our highest priority.”
Winn-Dixie, Fresco y Más, Harveys Supermarket
Southeastern Grocers is also pausing all J&J vaccinations at all Fresco y Más, Harveys Supermarkets, and Winn-Dixie pharmacy locations, as well as off-site clinics.
“Southeastern Grocers is committed to the safe and equitable distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine to our customers and communities throughout the Southeast. In accordance with CDC and FDA guidelines, Southeastern Grocers has immediately suspended the administration of the Janssen one-dose vaccines in all Fresco y Más, Harveys Supermarket and Winn-Dixie pharmacy locations, as well as off-site clinics.
Customers who already have confirmed appointments for the Janssen vaccine will receive a text message notifying them of their appointment cancellation and they are welcome to reschedule through our online scheduling tool to receive a Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, as available. We are working diligently to keep our appointment availability for the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines updated in real-time as we continue to safeguard the health and well-being of our communities.
This is a fluid situation and we will keep our communities informed as further updates, guidance and recommendations are relayed by the CDC and FDA. We ask our customers to be patient while we adjust to these evolving circumstances.”
Lee Health announced it is also pausing administration of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The health system will not schedule further doses until they receive further instructions from the state. Moderna vaccinations will continue to be administered at Lee Health’s clinic.
Healthcare Network has also paused use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine pending future guidance from the CDC.
Millennium Physician Group
Millennium Physician Group sent a letter to patients saying they are temporarily pausing the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Millennium said its administration of the Moderna vaccine will not be affected, and it still will be administered as doses become available.
Physicians’ Primary Care
Dr. Mary Yankaskas, Managing Physician of Physicians’ Primary Care of SWFL made a statement in response to the concern surrounding the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
It is important to keep in mind that the risk of complications with any of the vaccines is very low. With the information on the J&J vaccine, there have been almost 7 million doses given and 6 of these rare blood clots, all in women age 18-45. The events all took place within 3 weeks of getting the vaccine.
The current recommendation, based on this morning’s announcement, is that if you received the J&J vaccine within the past three weeks and experience severe headache, leg or abdominal pain, or shortness of breath then you need to see your healthcare provider. The likelihood of an adverse reaction after this time is unlikely but patients should continue to monitor for symptoms.
This story will be updated as more pharmacy and vaccination site announcements are made.
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