Skip to content

What the Johnson & Johnson vaccine pause means in LA County

COVID-19 vaccine. (303011)
COVID-19 vaccine. Credit: Daniel Schludi

The one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine has been paused by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health after the federal government recommended the action as a cautionary, safety measure. The City of Los Angeles, will also pause the use of Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

The recommendation was made concurrently by the Food and Drug Administration and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The pause will be in effect until the FDA and CDC finish their review of the matter, which officials said is expected to take several days.

“These events appear to be extremely rare,” said FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock.

Officials said that six women, between the ages of 18 and 48, developed unusual, yet severe blood clots six to 13 days after being vaccinated. One of those women died and another was hospitalized in Nebraska in critical condition.

Medical experts said so far this year, nearly seven million people have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the United States.

People who have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the last three weeks are being asked by L.A. County Public Health to look for any “any symptoms of these unusual clots, including severe headaches, abdominal or leg pain, and shortness of breath, and contact their medical provider if symptoms develop.”

County officials said if you don’t have a medical provider, officials said you can call 2-1-1 to connect with a healthcare provider.

Meanwhile, those who are currently scheduled to receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be contacted by their vaccine providers about rescheduling or signing up for a new appointment to receive the two dose Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.

County Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer said she was already not counting on as many people being vaccinated with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the coming days at county run vaccination sites, because the county had received only 19,6000 Johnson & Johnson doses this week.

Across the state, the California Department of Public Health will also follow the federal recommendation for a pause, which is also not expected to hinder vaccine efforts.

“In California, less than four percent of our vaccine allocation this week is the Johnson & Johnson vaccine,” said Dr. Erica Pan, a state epidemiologist with the California Department of Public Health.

Meanwhile, Johnson & Johnson issued a statement: “The safety and well-being of the people who used our products is our number one priority. We have been working closely with medical experts and health authorities, and we strongly support the open communication of this information to healthcare professionals and the public.”

“The CDC and FDA have made information available about proper recognition and management due to the unique treatment required with this type of blood clot. The health authorities advise that people who have received our COVID-19 vaccine and develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination should contact their health care provider,” Johnson & Johnson’s statement concluded.