BATON ROUGE, La. - The Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) will resume use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, following a decision late Friday by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Following a thorough safety review, including two meetings of the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, the FDA and CDC have determined that the recommended temporary pause of the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the U.S. should be lifted and use of the vaccine should resume, according to a spokesperson for LDH.
LDH has notified all providers that they may resume administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine immediately and encourages all Louisianans to take advantage of the available vaccines, so the state can continue to slow the spread of COVID-19 and put the pandemic in its rearview.
The pause was recommended after reports of six cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot in individuals following administration of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. During the pause, medical and scientific teams at the FDA and CDC examined available data to assess the risk of thrombosis involving the cerebral venous sinuses, or CVST (large blood vessels in the brain), and other sites in the body (including but not limited to the large blood vessels of the abdomen and the veins of the legs) along with thrombocytopenia, or low blood platelet counts, the spokesperson stated.
The two agencies have determined the following:
- Use of the Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine should be resumed in the United States.
- The FDA and CDC have confidence that this vaccine is safe and effective in preventing COVID-19.
- The FDA has determined that the available data show that the vaccine's known and potential benefits outweigh its known and potential risks in individuals 18 years of age and older.
At this time, the available data suggest that the chance of TTS occurring is very low, but the FDA and CDC will remain vigilant in continuing to investigate this risk.
More than 1.1 million Louisianans have already completed their vaccinations against COVID-19. There have been around 85,000 Johnson and Johnson doses administered in Louisiana and no reported cases of this rare blood clot that we are aware of.
"The FDA had recommended the pause out of an overabundance of caution due to an extremely rare condition reported in a small number of individuals nationwide. Safety is all of our top priority, and we appreciate the thorough review," said Dr. Joseph Kanter, Louisiana's State Health Officer. "We have the upmost confidence in the safety and monitoring process and commitment to transparency."
Residents can call the COVID Vaccine Hotline to get information about where to receive a vaccine, get help making an appointment and have their questions answered by a medical professional.
The hotline number is 1-855-453-0774. Residents can call from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 8 p.m. on Sunday.
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