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Missouri halts J&J vaccine following reports of blood clots

  

Missouri placed a moratorium on administering the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine Tuesday following few reports of extremely rare blood clots suffered by those who received it. 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended halting the use of the vaccine Tuesday after reporting six people out of the more than 6.8 million who received the single-dose vaccine had experienced the severe blood clots. 

Missouri followed with a new health order, rescinding approval of the administration of the J&J vaccine. State health officials instructed vaccine providers who have the J&J doses to keep them in appropriate storage labeled “quarantine-do not use” for now. 

“We anticipate having more information shortly to make further decisions about overall vaccine distribution in light of this new development and will continue to update citizens who have been vaccinated with the J&J vaccine after the advisory committee meets at the federal level tomorrow,” Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) Director Randall Williams said. 

All six cases of blood clots occurred among women between 18-48 with symptoms developing less than two weeks after vaccination, according to the CDC and FDA. The blood clot, called a cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST), came with low levels of blood platelets, according to health officials. 

DHSS has recommended anyone who received the J&J vaccine who develops abdominal or leg pain, severe headaches, or shortness of breath within three weeks of receiving the dose to contact a health care provider. The COVID-19 hotline (877-435-8411) is also available to answer questions.

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The Biden administration maintained the J&J vaccine pause will “not have a significant impact” on its vaccination plan as it makes up less than 5 percent of recorded shots given in the U.S. so far, Jeff Zients, the White House COVID-19 response coordinator on the J&J vaccine said. 

“Based on actions taken by the president earlier this year, the United States has secured enough Pfizer and Moderna doses for 300 million Americans. Over the last few weeks, we have made available more than 25 million doses of Pfizer and Moderna each week, and in fact this week we will make available 28 million doses of these vaccines,” Zients said. “This is more than enough supply to continue the current pace of vaccinations of 3 million shots per day, and meet the president’s goal of 200 million shots by his 100th day in office — and continue on to reach every adult who wants to be vaccinated.” 

“We are working now with our state and federal partners to get anyone scheduled for a J&J vaccine quickly rescheduled for a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine,” he added. 

Until otherwise amended, Missouri’s new health order pausing the J&J vaccine is in effect until the end of the year. The CDC is meeting Wednesday to review the cases, and the FDA is also investigating the cases. 

Nearly 3.14 million Missourians have received at least one dose of any COVID-19 vaccinations with more than 1.28 million completing vaccination as of Tuesday morning. Throughout the past week, Missouri averaged nearly 48,000 vaccine doses administered per day.