California state officials directed counties and other providers on Tuesday to pause use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration as agencies examine a possible and rare side effect that can cause blood clots.
On a visit to Butte County this morning, Gov. Gavin Newsom said that J&J vaccines represent about 4% of the state's weekly allocation of vaccines from the federal government.
“We are mindful that with the J&J, our ability to do as much as we had anticipated this week and over the next few weeks is impacted,” he said. “but our medium and long term goals are not.”
The governor's office also said on social media that the pause will not affect plans to open vaccination to all eligible teens and adults as scheduled on Thursday or its broader plan to reopen California's economy in mid-June.
CA will follow CDC & FDA recommendations to temporarily pause use of the J&J COVID-19 vaccine, out of an abundance of caution.
Our vaccine allocations will not be significantly impacted.
Californians 16+ are eligible on April 15 and we remain set to fully reopen on June 15.
— Office of the Governor of California (@CAgovernor) April 13, 2021
Several Bay Area counties have already announced temporary halts to the use of the one-dose J&J vaccine. As of publication, this list includes San Francisco, Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa, San Mateo, Sonoma, Alameda and Solano counties.
In Southern California, the city of Los Angeles has also announced its intention to pause the use of this vaccine.
The San Francisco COVID Command Center informed through its own statement that out of the 33,000 doses of the J&J vaccine that the city has administered so far, there are no reported cases of blood clotting.
"As this adverse event is reported to be extremely rare with just over six reported cases nationwide, we do not believe there is cause for immediate alarm," city officials said, adding that anyone who has received the J&J vaccine should contact their care provider if they experience severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination.
Only 5% of the doses San Francisco received this week are of the J&J vaccine. Similarly, other counties have indicated that this vaccine makes up a very small proportion of their supplies.
In Marin County, J&J doses account for less than 3% of the county's cumulative vaccine allocation, according to health officials. The county expects to use Pfizer and Moderna doses instead in its efforts to vaccinate harder-to-reach groups.
Similarly, Santa Clara County said in its own statement that it "anticipates being able to cover all scheduled appointments with the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines."