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J&J vaccine pause has little impact on Boulder County

CDPHE is requiring providers to stop administration of the J&J vaccine until additional information becomes available
Image by fernando zhiminaicela from Pixabay

Providers across the nation temporarily have been asked to pause the use of the Johnson & Johnson, or J&J, vaccine. States are allowed to decide to heed the warning, Colorado has chosen to comply.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, or CDPHE, and the Colorado Joint Vaccine Task Force are asking providers to temporarily pause use of the J&J COVID-19 vaccine in response to the joint Center for Disease Control, or CDC, and Food and Drug Administration, of FDA, announcement regarding six reported cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot in individuals after receiving the vaccine.

The federal government is allowing states to determine whether to pause use. CDPHE is requiring providers to stop administration of the J&J vaccine until additional information becomes available, stated a news release. 

All six cases occurred among women between the ages of 18 and 48, and symptoms occurred 6 to 13 days after vaccination, according to the release.

These adverse events appear to be extremely rare and the FDA and CDC are recommending this pause is to ensure health care providers are aware of these potential adverse events and can respond accordingly.

The J&J vaccine makes up only a small portion of Colorado’s vaccine allocation, with 9,700 administered. This is  compared to nearly 280,000 doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine the state expects to receive this week. Most vaccine clinics across the state will not be significantly affected, states the news release.

Across Boulder County, vaccine providers do not expect to be significantly impacted by the halt in J&J vaccine administration. 

Angela Simental, Boulder County Public Health acting communication manager, said Boulder County Public Health has administered a minimal number of J&J vaccine doses through its clinics.

“Most of the vaccines we’ve administered are the ones with two doses, so we are not affected by what is happening at the federal level,” she said. “CDPHE sends the vaccines to the counties and Boulder County has not seen much of the J&J vaccine… Everything will continue to operate very similarly to what it’s been like so far.” 

Similarly, the largest systems of private healthcare in Longmont do not expect to see their vaccination efforts locally impacted by the news. 

Local UCHelath’s vaccine clinics administer the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine and have not been administering the J&J vaccine, according to Kelly Tracer, UCHealth senior media relations specialist. 

“All of our clinics are operating normally and we’re anticipating providing close to 40,000 vaccinations this week statewide,” she said in an email. 

Lindsay Radford, director of external and field communications at Centura Health, also said J&J vaccines have not been administered locally at Longmont United Hospital vaccination clinics.

Centura Health paused the use of the J&J vaccine on April 9 following a mass vaccination clinic at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park where 11 individuals experienced adverse reactions, according to a statement on the website.  

Centura Health has now paused use of all J&J vaccines at all its care facilities following the recommendations of the CDC and FDA, according to a press release.   

To date, Centura Health has administered 13,500 J&J vaccine doses between two past mass vaccination events at Dick’s Sporting Goods in Commerce City and Broadmoor World Arena in Colorado Springs.