covid-19 vaccine

Walgreens, Jewel-Osco Suspend Use of Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Following Federal Recommendation

Individuals with scheduled appointments for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine should receive a call to reschedule for a dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines

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Walgreens and Jewel-Osco are suspending the use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine until further notice, the companies announced Tuesday, following federal officials' recommendation.

"Following today’s recommendation from the FDA and CDC for a pause in the use of the J&J vaccine out of an abundance of caution, we are immediately suspending the administration of the J&J vaccine at our stores and off-site clinics and are awaiting further guidance," Walgreens said in a statement.

Osco additionally issued a statement Tuesday, saying its pharmacies will pause the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine per federal recommendations.

Both companies said workers are reaching out to patients to reschedule appointments using either Pfizer or Moderna vaccine manufacturers. Osco added that appointments are added to the online scheduler as doses become available.

Illinois' health department has also said it will pause use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine "out of an abundance of caution."

"IDPH has notified all Illinois COVID-19 providers throughout the state to discontinue use of the J&J vaccine at this time," the Illinois Department of Public Health said in a statement. "In order to keep appointments, IDPH is strongly advising providers to use Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines."

The decisions to pause 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.

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.

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