Given the green light by federal health officials, several US states resumed use of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine on Saturday.
Among states ordering or recommending a resumption were Indiana, New York, Virginia, Missouri and Michigan. Such states moved came swiftly after US health officials said on Friday they were lifting an 11-day pause, advisers having decided the shot’s benefits outweigh a rare risk of blood clot.
“The state of New York will resume administration of this vaccine at all of our state-run sites effective immediately,” Andrew Cuomo, the governor, said on Saturday.
“The vaccine is the weapon that will win the war against Covid and allow everyone to resume normalcy, and we have three proven vaccines at our disposal. The sooner we all get vaccinated, the sooner we can put the long Covid nightmare behind us once and for all.”
The federal government uncovered 15 cases of a highly unusual kind of blood clot out of nearly 8 million people given the J&J shot. All were women, most under age 50. Three died and seven remain hospitalized.
Ultimately, federal officials decided that J&J’s one-and-done vaccine is critical to fight the pandemic – and that the small clot risk could be handled with warnings to help younger women decide if they should use that shot or an alternative.
The Indiana department of health announced resumption of a mass clinic at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, offering the J&J vaccine to anyone 18 or older. The clinic will operate at least through 30 April, when there will be a family day at which 16- and 17-year-olds also can be vaccinated.
“I can’t think of a better way to welcome the month of May in Indiana than getting your vaccine this week at the Yard of Bricks,” said Dr Chris Weaver, chief clinical officer for Indiana University Health, partnering with the state in running the speedway clinic.
Virginia officials told providers to immediately resume use of the J&J vaccine.
“This extra scrutiny should instill confidence in the system that is in place to guarantee Covid-19 vaccine safety,” said Dr Danny Avula, the state vaccine coordinator. “As with any vaccine, we encourage individuals to educate themselves on any potential side effects and to weigh that against the possibility of hospitalization or death from Covid-19.”
Avula received the J&J vaccine on 1 April.
Missouri officials said providers could immediately begin administering the J&J shot and that shipments from the federal government would resume next week. Just over 105,000 doses of J&J had been administered in Missouri before the pause.
In Michigan the chief medical executive, Dr Joneigh Khaldun, recommended resuming use of the J&J vaccine.