State health department to resume Johnson & Johnson vaccinations

COVID-19 Vaccine

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The Tennessee Department of Health said Friday it will resume administration of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine after its approved use without restrictions by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted Friday to recommend to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that jurisdictions may resume their administration of the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine without restrictions.

The Tennessee Department of Health said it is taking necessary steps to inform all approved COVID-19 vaccine providers across the state of the information released by ACIP so that they may resume the administration of the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine as soon as possible. 

While the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine is in short supply, TDH said most vaccine providers in Tennessee continue to have an abundant supply of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

The Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine had been recommended back in February by the ACIP for people 18 years of age or older in the U.S. population under the FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization. Blood clots reported among some vaccinated led to a pause.

Friday’s decision by the committee came after reviewing cases of rare but serious blood clots occurring in some who had received the vaccine; to date, 15 cases have been reported with the majority occurring in women ages 18-49 years old. The risk of developing the condition is approximately 7 in 1 million vaccine doses for women in that age group. For women ages 50 years and older and for men, the risk is approximately 1 in 1 million vaccines doses.

“The independent review process conducted by ACIP further shows the amount of scrutiny and review that goes into ensuring the safety of all vaccines used in this country, including those that protect against COVID-19,” said Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey, MD, MBA, FAAP. “The CDC and FDA took a necessary pause in the administration of the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine and the ACIP has done its diligence to confidently recommend that the country resume its use of the vaccine. We’re excited to get this third vaccine option back into use in Tennessee.”

Going forward, the TDH recommends that women between the ages of 18 and 49 years should weigh the risk of the vaccine with its benefits when deciding to receive the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine versus the mRNA vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna, which have not been associated with this rare blood clotting disorder.

People who are seeking a COVID-19 vaccine appointment can visit covid19.tn.gov or vaccinefinder.org to schedule an appointment with a local vaccine provider.

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