(The Center Square) – The Pennsylvania Department of Health said Tuesday it has advised all providers to stop using Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine after six inoculated women developed rare blood clots.
The Food and Drug Administration and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended the same as the agencies probe the incidents, all of which occurred in women between the ages of 18 and 48 within two weeks of receiving the vaccine.
The advisory does not impact the vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna, which have been more widely distributed and have not been tied to the blood clot concerns.
Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam said more than 262,000 doses of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine have been administered in the state, with about 20,000 more scheduled for delivery this week. Nationwide, 6.8 million Americans received the one-shot vaccine.
“While this announcement is challenging, it highlights the vaccine evaluation process,” Beam said. “The CDC and the FDA are closely monitoring vaccines for safety and effectiveness, and if there is a cause for concern, they will take action because safety is paramount.”
The department said anyone who received the vaccine more than three weeks ago shouldn’t fear the rare side effect. Others should contact their health care providers if symptoms of a blood clot develop, including severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness of breath.
“This protocol should give all Pennsylvanians confidence in the safety and effectiveness of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine, and individuals should proceed with getting vaccinated as soon as possible to fight the virus, particularly as our case counts rise,” Beam said.
Those scheduled to receive a Johnson & Johnson vaccine should find a new appointment, Beam said.