April 13, 2021

Indiana Health Officials Halting Use Of J&J vaccine

FILE PHOTO: Courtesy of Johnson & Johnson

FILE PHOTO: Courtesy of Johnson & Johnson

Updated April 13 at  12:10 p.m.

RICK CALLAHAN - Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana health officials halted the use of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine around the state Tuesday after federal officials recommended a “pause” in its use to investigate reports of potentially dangerous blood clots.

The agency said it was switching the mass vaccination clinic being held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to the two-shot Moderna vaccine. The department said it was working with other clinics around the state that planned to give the Johnson & Johnson vaccine so they could provide alternative vaccines.

State health department chief medical officer Dr. Lindsay Weaver said officials weren’t immediately sure about being able to provide alternative vaccines at the Indianapolis speedway clinic after Tuesday. The clinic has been administering about 6,000 shots a day and Gov. Eric Holcomb received the J&J vaccine at the speedway last month.

Weaver said she wasn’t aware of anyone from Indiana being among the six reported cases of blood clots being investigated out of more than 6.8 million doses of the J&J vaccine administered in the U.S.

About 125,000 doses of the J&J vaccine have been given in Indiana, out of about 3.4 million total vaccine shots administered, according to the state’s coronavirus dashboard.

Indiana's move halting the use of the J&J vaccine came as state health officials were preparing to administer that vaccine on Tuesday at the speedway for a planned six-day clinic.

Weaver said Indiana’s vaccination efforts could be hindered by the pause, depending on how long that continues.

“Of course we need more vaccine here in Indiana, so any time that we’re seeing less, we don’t have the ability to get as much as we would like, then of course that may hurt our vaccine efforts,” she said.

Weaver said Hoosiers who had been scheduled to get the J&J vaccine at the speedway before the current pause and who go ahead and receive the first dose of the Moderna vaccine will need to get scheduled for the second Moderna dose 28 days later. She said the second Moderna doses would be offered somewhere in Indianapolis, but those details were still being worked out, and people receiving the first Moderna dose at the speedway should watch for notifications.

She urged Hoosiers to get vaccinated with whatever vaccine is available to them, noting that the state has been seeing increases in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations.

“We are seeing an increases in our cases, we’re watching closely for an increase in hospitalizations. We know that the variants are here in Indiana and across the entire country, so please go ahead and get vaccinated,” Weaver said.

Associated Press writer Tom Davies contributed to this report.

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