SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — Bay Area health services in several counties are announcing that they will follow the advice of the U.S. FDA and CDC in temporarily pausing use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.
Alameda County will suspend administration of the J&J vaccine until state and federal authorities determine it is safe to begin administering the vaccine again, the Office of Emergency Services announced in a news release.
According to the county, all existing J&J appointments will be canceled or rescheduled as appointments for a two-dose vaccination series using either Moderna or Pfizer based on available supply.
Contra Costa Health Services said this won’t result in any appointment cancellations as the J&J doses are a “very small part” of the county’s vaccine allocation, officials said.
CCHS said it “is not aware of any reported cases of adverse reactions to COVID-19 vaccine in the county that were inconsistent with those documented during the extensive clinical trials conducted to ensure the safety of all vaccines used in the U.S.”
In Marin County, officials are also pausing the J&J vaccine, which they say account for less than 3% of their cumulative vaccine allocation.
“The temporary halt will mainly impact our mobile operations, where J&J’s one dose increased vaccination capacity. Starting today, mobile teams will resume using Pfizer and Moderna to continue our efforts to vaccinate harder to reach groups,” Marin County health officials said.
The federal agencies said that six women who got the J&J vaccine also reported developing a rare, severe type of blood clot. But officials point out that it’s six cases out of six million total doses administered.
“One in a million… not terrible odds compared to the odds of getting sick and dying of COVID,” Dr. Peter Chin-Hong of UCSF said.
People who received this vaccine within the last two weeks should contact a healthcare provider immediately if they develop symptoms such as severe headaches, severe abdominal pain, severe leg pain or shortness of breath – these symptoms are different than the usual, minor reactions that some people may experience in the day or two following their vaccination, CCHS said.
Napa County Public Health tells KRON4 it had planned up to 100 doses of J&J vaccines at a local clinic Tuesday morning, but that call center staff reached out to the 75 people who were scheduled to let them know it would be switched to Moderna.
Officials said they do not have any other planned usage of the J&J vaccine scheduled for the next two weeks.
The San Francisco Department of Health also said it will pause use. As of Tuesday, the health department said it administered 31,831 doses of the J&J vaccine to San Francisco residents.
County officials are pausing J&J vaccines and anticipates the county will be able to cover all scheduled appointments with Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.
The county has also advised its vaccinating partners to pause administration of J&J vaccines pending further direction from the CDC, FDA, and California Dept. of Public Health.
San Mateo County is pausing the use of J&J vaccines in all of its operations, according to an announcement on the county website.
“With the announcement from the Centers for Disease Control and the Food and Drug Administration regarding concerns about of cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) in combination with low levels of blood platelets in a small number of Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine recipients, San Mateo County Health is pausing the use of the Janssen vaccine in all of its operations. County Health has also directed its vaccinating partners, including hospitals and local clinics, to suspend use of the Janssen vaccine until it is officially cleared by CDC/FDA.”
San Mateo County Health received 500 Janssen doses this week, which will be held pending further state and federal guidance.
Officials said community clinics with planned use of J&J will be switched to Pfizer or Moderna.
Sonoma County officials said pausing J&J vaccines will not impact vaccine clinics that already have scheduled appointments as they will use Moderna or Pfizer instead.
Officials added they were already expecting a decline in J&J vaccines this week and next.
Sonoma County said it is pausing the J&J vaccine and is looking to replace the scheduled J&J doses with another brand.
County officials told KRON4 they have 500 doses out of a weekly supply of about 14,000 first and second doses.
Officials added that if there are cancelations of appointments, it will be minimal since the J&J supply was minimal.