September 24 2021 03:30 pm

California to temporarily stop use of J&J vaccine after US officials call for ‘pause’

Local News

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — California public health officials say they will temporarily stop administering the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine after U.S. officials called for a “pause.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday they are investigating “potentially dangerous” clots in six women that occurred 6 to 13 days after vaccination.

All of the cases occurred in women ages 18 to 48, officials said. One of the cases resulted in a death, and a second person is in critical condition.

They added the risk for people who got the vaccine more than a month ago is “very low.”

During a teleconference, the CDC and FDA said there have been 6.8 million J&J doses administered.

State Epidemiologist Dr. Erica Pan released a statement Tuesday on California’s response to the CDC’s announcement.

California is following the FDA and CDC’s recommendation and has directed health care providers to pause the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine until we receive further direction from health and safety experts. Additionally, the state will convene the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup to review the information provided by the federal government on this issue. As the federal government has said, we do not expect a significant impact to our vaccination allocations. In California, less than 4% of our vaccine allocation this week is the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. 

Dr. Erica Pan, State Epidemiologist

The FDA’s announcement had many Sacramento-area clinics scrambling to stop giving J&J vaccines and find alternatives.

At Luther Burbank High School in South Sacramento, around 4,500 J&J shots were scheduled to be handed out Tuesday. But the clinic quickly had to get access to doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

“So today, woke up thinking that we’re going to worry about flow and function of one of our typical clinics, to find the news saying the vaccine that we’re about to deliver has been put on pause by the FDA,” said Dr. Rusty Oshita, the medical director of Urgent Care Now.

Originally, Urgent Care Now’s clinic only had J&J vaccines.

“Five a.m. this morning, I was on the phone with Sacramento County Public Health,” Oshita explained. “By the grace of God and the help of Dr. Kasirye, Olivia Kasirye, we pivoted and they got us approximately 3,000 doses of Pfizer down here. And we are feverishly drawing that up and putting in arms of the patients that were expecting to be protected today.”

Some of the patients in line told FOX40 they were not thrilled, as it meant they will have to come back for a second shot.

“Yeah, I am kind of disappointed because it would be easier to do the Johnson first instead of doing it another time,” said Adnam Yhehouv.

However, most said they were just happy to be getting any vaccine, no matter which kind.

“I don’t think it’s any different than getting like a flu vaccine,” Yhehouv said.

Sacramento County was only able to get around 3,000 doses of the Pfizer shot Tuesday, even though Urgent Care Now had planned on giving 4,500 doses of the J&J vaccine. But Dr. Oshita said most appointments were kept, and there was even enough for some walk-in patients to be vaccinated.

Sacramento County says scheduled appointments will be honored, but people do have the option to cancel if they do not want to receive the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. The county plans to review all scheduled J&J clinics for the week and accommodate as seamlessly as possible.

Oshita added his clinic will be back in the neighborhood.

“Urgent Care Now, we were not going to let this community let down, not a chance,” he said.

The clinic was also put on by the Sacramento City Unified School District, which will be holding another clinic in South Sacramento this Friday.

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