Following Rare Blood Clotting Cases, Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine Temporarily Paused

On Tuesday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommended a temporary pause in the administration of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine out of an abundance of caution following the emergence of six reported cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot. The U.S. has administered just shy of seven million Johnson & Johnson vaccines, and the six blood clotting cases have occurred among women ages 18 to 48 with symptoms occurring six to 13 days after vaccination.

The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) convened an emergency meeting to review the Johnson & Johnson vaccine on Wednesday amid the reported cases of blood clotting, but ultimately opted to extend the temporary pause on the vaccine while additional data is collected on potential cases and risk factors. The ACIP is set to again meet next week to review additional data and determine whether to modify its vaccine recommendations against COVID-19.

Following the federal government’s recommendation, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) recommended all California COVID-19 vaccine providers to temporarily halt the administration of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup convened this week to review the safety and efficacy of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine but decided to align itself with the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) decision to gather additional data.

During remarks provided during press conferences this week, Governor Gavin Newsom indicated the Johnson & Johnson vaccine comprises only four percent of the total COVID-19 vaccines received by the state and expressed confidence in the state’s ability to vaccinate residents using Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to allow the state to retire the Blueprint for a Safer Economy on June 15, as previously announced.

A joint statement from the CDC and FDA is available here. A statement from CDPH on the temporary pause of the vaccine is available here.