Arizona health agency backs resumption of use of J&J vaccine

Employees with the McKesson Corporation scan a box of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine while filling an order at their shipping facility in Shepherdsville, Ky., Monday, March 1, 2021. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley, Pool)

The Arizona Department of Health Services has advised health care providers to resume use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine now that the federal government has lifted an 11-day pause following a safety review.

The state issued its recommendation Friday after the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the benefits of the one-dose J&J shot outweigh a rare risk of blood clots.

“After recommending a pause out of an abundance of caution, we join our federal partners in encouraging everyone to get vaccinated against COVID-19 with the vaccine available to you,” Dr. Cara Christ, the department’s director, said in a statement distributed on social media.

“Arizonans can be confident that all COVID-19 vaccines approved for emergency use, including the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, have undergone a thorough review for safety and efficacy,” Christ added.

The statement said information provided with the vaccine “will advise patients about extremely low potential for thrombosis-thrombocytopenia syndrome, which involves blood clots and low blood platelet counts. This very rare syndrome was identified primarily in females between the ages of 18 and 49.”

Arizona on Saturday reported 729 additional confirmed COVID-19 cases and 22 deaths, increasing the state’s pandemic totals to 858,076 cases and 17,260 deaths.

The number of infections is thought to be far higher than reported because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.

Republished with the permission of the Associated Press.