What to Know
- Cook County is pausing use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine
- Individuals with appointments for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in Cook County this week will instead receive the first dose of either Moderna or Pfizer's vaccine, depending on the vaccination site
- The release of 35,000 appointments slated for Tuesday afternoon will not include Johnson & Johnson
Cook County is pausing use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, county health officials said Tuesday, based on U.S. regulators' recommendation amid an investigation into reports of rare but potentially dangerous blood clots.
"Following guidance released this morning from the US Food and Drug Administration and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Cook County Health will pause the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine until the FDA and CDC complete their review," a spokeswoman for Cook County Health said in a statement Tuesday morning.
Individuals with appointments for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine this week will instead receive the first dose of either Moderna or Pfizer's vaccine, depending on the vaccination site, the county said. Anyone who has a scheduled appointment but does not want the Moderna or the Pfizer vaccine should call 833-308-1988 to cancel or reschedule their appointment, officials said.
The release of 35,000 appointments slated for Tuesday afternoon will not include Johnson & Johnson, according to the county.
"The Cook County Department of Public Health has asked all Johnson & Johnson partners to pause using the vaccine as well," the county said, adding that it will provide additional information "as it becomes available."
"Following CDC/FDA guidance, individuals given the J&J vaccine who are experiencing severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath within three weeks after receiving the shot contact their health care provider," the county added.
The county's decision came after the CDC and FDA said in a joint statement early Tuesday that the regulators recommended a "pause" in administration of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson shots.
The agencies said they were investigating unusual clots in six women that occurred 6 to 13 days after vaccination. The clots occurred in veins that drain blood from the brain and occurred together with low platelets. All six cases were in women between the ages of 18 and 48.
The reports appear similar to a rare, unusual type of clotting disorder that European authorities say is possibly linked to another COVID-19 vaccine not yet cleared in the U.S., from AstraZeneca.
U.S. & World
More than 6.8 million doses of the J&J vaccine have been administered in the U.S., the vast majority with no or mild side effects.
U.S. federal distribution channels, including mass vaccination sites, will pause the use of the J&J shot, and states and other providers are expected to follow. The other two authorized vaccines, from Moderna and Pfizer, make up the vast share of COVID-19 shots administered in the U.S. and are not affected by the pause.
An advisory committee is scheduled to meet Wednesday to review the reactions and consider how to proceed.
Officials say they also want to educate vaccine providers and health professionals about the “unique treatment” required for this type of clot.