Texas Lifts Pause on Johnson & Johnson Vaccine, Tells Providers to Resume Use – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Texas lifted its hiatus on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine after federal health officials announced the benefits outweigh the risks, the state health department said on Saturday.

The Texas Department of Health has notified vaccine providers to resume use of the J&J COVID-19 vaccine.

The nationwide announcement comes a day after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommended lifting the hiatus and resuming vaccinations.

The CDC estimates that use of the J&J vaccine in the US will prevent more than 200 intensive care units and 1,400 deaths over the next six months.

“The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is an important tool in the fight against COVID-19 and the scientific review over the past 11 days has confirmed its safety and effectiveness,” said DSHS Commissioner Dr. John Hellerstedt. “We know that some Texans prefer the simplicity of a single dose vaccine, and the ease of storage and handling of this vaccine gives providers more flexibility. Resuming use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will prevent hospitalizations and save lives in Texas. “

According to information from the Department of Health on Friday, vendors in Texas have not been given any vaccine doses for the coming week. However, some had cans on hand and could use them again, said department spokesman Chris Van Deusen.

Van Deusen said the department anticipates the federal government will allow the J&J vaccine to be ordered as early as this weekend.

Federal and state agencies stopped using the J&J vaccine on April 13 after six reports of a rare and severe type of blood clot from more than 6.8 million administered doses.

A total of 15 cases of the side effect known as thrombosis-thrombocytopenia syndrome or TTS have been reported and at least one has resulted in death. All have occurred in women between the ages of 18 and 49, with an average age of 37, according to the CDC.

A woman in Texas was hospitalized after receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccination. No additional details about the patient were given, but the state health department said Thursday that the woman’s symptoms were consistent with the other cases before the break.

Vendors have administered 616,000 doses of the J&J vaccine in Texas, the health department said.

The initial pause should, in part, give the CDC and FDA time to reach out to health officials and instruct them on how to detect TTS and how to treat patients.

The chief state epidemiologist Dr. Jennifer Shuford said Thursday that in the event of the vaccination break, the existing safety surveillance system has worked as intended, which she hopes will add confidence to how the system is working.

DSHS announced that it has shared information with health professionals about treatment for TTS, as well as information for recipients of the vaccine.

Anyone receiving the J&J vaccine should see a doctor if any of the following symptoms occur within three weeks of receiving the vaccine:

  • shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Leg swelling
  • Persistent abdominal pain
  • Severe or persistent headache or blurred vision
  • Easy bruising or tiny spots of blood under the skin beyond the injection site

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