MDH to follow federal lead in pausing Johnson & Johnson vaccine

MDH has advised providers to follow the federal pause on providing the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.

Health officials are not aware of the reported clotting side effects of the single-dose vaccine in the state, but the CDC and FDA are reviewing data involving a rare and severe blood clot side effect that affected six women between the ages of 18 and 48.

More than 6.8 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have been administered across the country, with more than 184,000 Minnesotans receiving the single-dose vaccine.

Sanford Health has pulled the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, and will instead use the Pfizer vaccine at today’s one-day vaccination blitz at their Blackduck clinic.

CDC will convene a meeting of its Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices tomorrow to further review these cases and assess their potential significance.

FDA will review that analysis as it also investigates the cases.

Meanwhile, Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm said that until that process is complete, Minnesota health officials have advised a pause in the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine out of an abundance of caution.

“While this issue appears to be extremely rare, CDC and FDA are acting in a very cautious manner that underscores our commitment to vaccine safety,” Commissioner Malcolm said.

“We will be closely monitoring the federal review process and use that information to help guide our efforts here in Minnesota in the days ahead.”

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine represents about 6.6% percent of the total supply of vaccines Minnesota has received to date, so the pause is not expected to dramatically slow the pace of vaccinations in the state.

Larissa Donovan is the News Director for the stations of Paul Bunyan Broadcasting and has been, almost without interruption, since Election Day 2016. She covers all the beats in north-central Minnesota, such as local government, crime, education, environment and social issues. She studied communications at Bemidji State University. You can follow along with Larissa's live tweets of meetings and events on Twitter!

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