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Kansas Pauses Use Of Johnson & Johnson Vaccine As CDC, FDA Investigate Reports Of Complications

El Alvi
Flickr Creative Commons

Kansas says it will stop distributing the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine as federal health officials investigate reports of rare complications in six people who received the vaccine.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday recommended a pauseafter at least six women developed a disorder involving blood clots within about two weeks of receiving the single-dose vaccine.

The disorder was reported in women between the ages of 18 to 48, the CDC said. More than 6.8 million doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine have been administered in the U.S. so far.

Sedgwick County has temporarily stopped dispensing the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Health officials say people who have appointments specifically for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be offered the Pfizer vaccine.

"It’s been a positive response here at the clinic because people really have held out for Johnson & Johnson, but are willing to get vaccinated because they want that coverage," said Health Director Adrienne Byrne.

In a briefing with reporters, Sedgwick County Health Officer Garold Minns said the pause will likely be short, but there was no reason to wait to get a vaccination when two effective vaccines are available now.

"Getting vaccinated is still very important. The Pfizer and the Moderna vaccines have not been associated with any cases like this," Minns said.

Kansas Health Secretary Lee Norman says distribution is on hold until the CDC and FDA clear the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for use again. He asked providers to pause administration of the vaccine immediately and to place the supply into storage while material is reviewed.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment says no adverse side effects connected to the vaccine have been reported in Kansas. Those who have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine should contact their health care provider if they have any symptoms such as headache, abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness of breath.

Norman said Tuesday the pause won’t have a “big impact” on the state’s vaccine rollout, the AP reports. Less than 4% of the vaccine administered in Kansas has been from Johnson & Johnson.

Deborah joined the news team at KMUW in September 2014 as a news reporter. She spent more than a dozen years working in news at both public and commercial radio and television stations in Ohio, West Virginia and Detroit, Michigan. Before relocating to Wichita in 2013, Deborah taught news and broadcasting classes at Tarrant County College in the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas area.