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Colorado recommends immediate restart of J&J vaccine, some providers opt to take it slow

The announcement came soon after the FDA and CDC lifted their suggested pauses on the vaccine, following a handful of reports of rare blood clots.

DENVER — The Colorado Dept. of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) on Friday advised providers in the state to immediately resume the use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine.

“We are happy to have this highly effective, one-dose vaccine back as an option for Coloradans,” Dr. Eric France, CDPHE chief medical officer, said in a press release.

The announcement came soon after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lifted their suggested pauses on the vaccine, advising Americans that the benefits outweigh the risks.

The federal agencies recommended the pause earlier this month after reports of blood clots. In total, 15 women developed the rare clot out of the nearly 8 million people who received a Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Three of those 15 died.

“Above all else, health and safety are at the forefront of our decisions,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in a statement on Friday. “Our vaccine safety systems are working. We identified exceptionally rare events – out of millions of doses" of the J&J shot and will continue to monitor them.

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CDPHE said Friday there are approximately 73,000 Johnson & Johnson doses ready for use at about 129 locations across the state.

Not every provider, however, is rushing to administer Johnson & Johnson again, including Denver Health and Centura. In emails to 9NEWS, both said they will review the federal recommendations and continue with the Pfizer and Moderna options in the meantime:

  • Denver Health: Vaccine options are important, and we want to be able to provide our patients with the most accurate information for any vaccines we use. As an organization, we are going to take time to review the [Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices] recommendations on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and follow suggested guidance from the CDC, FDA and CDPHE to make the best decision for our patients and our community. Denver Health is continuing to use COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna in its clinics.
  • Centura: We have received the information regarding the CDC advisory panel’s stance on the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine and are in the process of reviewing it. In the meantime, we will continue to offer appointments to our communities for Pfizer and Moderna vaccines at our drive-up events and community vaccine clinics.

As all providers move forward, CDPHE will include an updated warning from the FDA about the clot, which is considered rare but potentially severe. The department said it will also send information to providers with information about identifying this type of reaction.

“Vaccine safety and the health and safety of all Coloradans is a top priority,” Dr. France said in the statement. “The CDC and FDA conducted this investigation and review out of an abundance of caution and is a result of their long-standing and ongoing safety monitoring processes of all vaccines.”

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