Nebraska will stop using J&J shot while it is reviewed

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska will stop distributing Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus vaccine while federal officials investigate six reports of people experiencing blood clots after receiving that shot, including one case in the state, health officials said Tuesday.

The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services said last week that an individual in their late 40s had developed blood clots two weeks after receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. That case is being investigated by federal and state health officials to determine if the blood clots are connected to the vaccine.

 

Federal health officials said Tuesday that they were investigating six cases of women developing blood clots in the days after receiving the vaccine. More than 6.8 million doses of the J&J vaccine have been administered nationwide.

The J&J vaccine was a relatively small part of the state’s plans this week because officials expected to receive only 1,100 doses of it. Nebraska is expecting to receive 90,250 doses of the other two coronavirus vaccines this week, and the state said it will direct local health officials to use one of those two shots in place of the J&J vaccine while it is being reviewed.

The state said Tuesday that it administered more than 116,000 doses of the vaccines last week, and that 30.6% of the state’s population over 16 has now been fully vaccinated for the virus.

Colorado halts J&J vaccinations following US recommendation

DENVER (AP) — Colorado on Tuesday suspended the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine while federal officials investigate reports of potentially dangerous blood clots in a handful of vaccine recipients.

Colorado's Department of Public Health and Environment announced the pause after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration said they were investigating unusual clots that occurred 6 to 13 days after vaccination. All six cases were in women between the ages of 18 and 48. There was one death.

The state health department says the J&J vaccine represents a small portion of Colorado’s weekly vaccine allocation and that most vaccine clinics will not be affected.

Colorado's vaccine allocation this week included nearly 280,000 doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines and 9,700 doses of the J&J vaccine.

The suspension of the one-shot vaccine comes as Colorado is facing a fourth wave of new coronavirus cases with many hospitalizations occurring in those between 20 and 40 years of age, Polis said at a Tuesday news conference.

The majority of the state's new cases are the COVID-19 variants that are more contagious. The health department has recorded over 1,500 of the U.K. variant, more than 500 of the California variant and a couple dozen of the Brazil and South African variants.

“About half the specimens we're testing weekly are the B.1.1.7 variant, that's the U.K. variant,” he said.

For those 50 years and older who are at higher risk and have had vaccination access for several weeks in Colorado, the lack of hospitalizations show that vaccines are working, Polis added.

State health officials urged people to contact their health care providers if they received the J&J vaccine over the last three weeks and developed severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath. People who got the vaccine more than a month ago are at very low risk of any serious side effects.

State officials said that people who had been scheduled to get the J&J vaccine will get the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine instead. Some may have their vaccine appointments rescheduled. Colorado's mobile vaccination buses, which administered the J&J vaccine, are canceling operations until further notice.

About 122,280 J&J doses have been administered in Colorado, out of nearly 3.3 million total doses, according to health department data.

Providers who have doses of the J&J vaccine should store it for the time being, the department said.

A CDC panel was scheduled to review the cases of blood clots at an emergency meeting Wednesday.

Last week, Colorado health care provider Centura Health said it decided to stop using the J&J vaccine at three mass vaccination sites after 11 people reported feeling adverse effects, including nausea and dizziness, after getting the shot in Commerce City on April 7. About 1,700 people were vaccinated that day, Colorado Public Radio reported.

Centura said a national shortage of the vaccine also factored into its decision. The company said it was using the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines instead for more than 24,000 people with appointments between April 10 and April 14 at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, the Broadmoor World Arena in Colorado Springs, and the Colorado State Fairgrounds in Pueblo.

Despite a new spike in cases, Colorado plans to transfer public health orders to localized county-government control on April 16.

Polis said the state has confidence in local communities “to help make those very difficult decisions of balancing economic, public health and epidemiological public health with all of the information that we continue to make available to them.”

At the state level, Colorado will continue its statewide mask mandate until May 6, Polis said.

The state will also monitor indoor events of more than 500 people by allowing specific state-granted variances.

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