Alabama Department of Public Health, CDC, FDA recommend resumption of J&J vaccine
The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) on Tuesday announced it has received final guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) concerning use of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson (J&J) COVID-19 vaccine.
After a temporary pause on its use since April 13, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the CDC have recommended resumption of J&J vaccine usage among persons 18 years of age and older, as available data show that the vaccine’s known and potential benefits outweigh its known and potential risks.
In turn, ADPH has echoed this recommendation, green lighting the resumption of the J&J vaccine in Alabama.
The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices reaffirmed its interim recommendation under FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization which includes a new warning for women aged 18-49 years.
Reports of adverse events following the use of the J&J vaccine suggest a very low but increased risk of a rare adverse event called thromobosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS), an ADPH release explained. Nearly all reports of this serious condition, which involves blood clots with low platelets, have been in adult women younger than 50 years old. There have been no reported cases of these side effects in Alabamians.
Women younger than 50 years old should be aware of the rare but increased risk of this adverse event and that there are other COVID-19 vaccine options available for which this risk has not been seen at all — namely the Pfizer and Moderna two-dose vaccines. At this time, the available data suggest that the chance of adverse reactions occurring with the J&J vaccine is very low, but the FDA and CDC will remain vigilant in continuing to investigate this risk, ADPH added.
People age 16 and 17 are only eligible to receive the Pfizer vaccine. People age 18 and over are eligible for all three vaccine options.
Advantages of resuming use of the J&J COVID-19 vaccine include flexibility, choice and improved access because this is a one-dose vaccine which has less strict storage and transportation requirements.
More than 1 million Alabama residents are now fully vaccinated.
“Alabama is making progress in all directions – our COVID-19 numbers are improving, more people are getting vaccinated each day, all while achieving the lowest unemployment rate in the southeast,” Governor Kay Ivey said in a statement. “I am glad to see the resumption of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and encourage every Alabamian 16 and up to get out and get your shots. The safe and effective vaccines available are our ticket back to normal, and I could not be more optimistic in how we are moving forward.”
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn