The Connecticut Department of Public Health announced Tuesday it is recommending that COVID-19 vaccine providers take a pause on administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine as federal health authorities investigate reports of blood clots.
None of the cases, which occurred in six women and are considered rare, occurred in Connecticut, the agency said in a statement. Roughly 100,000 Connecticut residents have received the J&J vaccine with no reported serious problems, DPH said.
Connecticut’s decision came shortly after the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration issued a joint statement that also recommended a “pause” in administering the single-dose vaccine.
The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will meet Wednesday to discuss the cases, and the FDA has also launched an investigation into the cause of the clots and low platelet counts.
“The CDC, FDA and Connecticut DPH all take vaccine safety extremely seriously,” the Connecticut public health agency said in a statement. “Although the reported complications are extremely rare, we will await the results of the investigation before proceeding with further use of the J&J vaccine.”
Leaders of the Connecticut department said they have informed vaccine providers planning to hold clinics using J&J on Tuesday and in the coming days to delay those clinics or offer an alternative vaccine if they have a supply.
Agency officials said they would work with vaccine providers “to minimize the disruptions from this announcement in the near-term to the extent possible, but we anticipate that some cancellations will occur.”
Vaccine providers are being urged to reach out to people who were scheduled to receive a Johnson & Johnson dose and let them know them know their appointment will need to be rescheduled.
Connecticut had hoped to use a lot of its Johnson & Johnson vaccine at various mobile clinics as part of an effort to reach underserved populations. The FEMA mobile unit, which is currently in New Britain, was changing its schedule and would be offering the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. It was unclear when that change would happen.
Vaccine vans operated by Griffin Health suspended their operations for Tuesday.
Mayor Joe Ganin, of Bridgeport, the state’s largest city, announced his public health department would halt administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, while continuing to administer the Moderna vaccine.
“Safety and confidence in the vaccine is paramount,” the Democrat said in a statement. “Unless, or until we are 100% confident in the J & J vaccine, we will pause its use.”