COVID-19 Vaccine

Maryland, Virginia to Resume Use of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine

Maryland and Virginia have told providers they can offer the single-dose shot after the CDC and FDA found benefits outweigh the risks

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Maryland and Virginia health officials have told providers to resume their use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine after federal agencies lifted a pause on the vaccine.

The decisions came after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration found the benefits of the one-shot vaccine outweigh its risks.

Earlier this month, the agencies announced an investigation into six cases of an extremely rare blood clot disorder in recipients. One woman who died was a 45-year-old Virginia resident who received the vaccine on March 6. No link has been found and CDC data shows about seven million people in the U.S. have received a dose.

Virginia told providers that they are free to use the shot immediately.

"This extra scrutiny should instill confidence in the system that is in place to guarantee COVID-19 vaccine safety," a statement from the Virginia Department of Health said.

The Maryland Department of Health says it supports the reintroduction and said providers can resume using available Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

The agency said providers should share information about potential risks, including about the rare blood clots.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that prior to the pause, Virginia had administered 184,000 J&J shots. Maryland has given out over 180,000 single-dose shots.

The chances of getting blood clots while infected with COVID-19 is roughly 20% , which is significantly higher than the risk posed by the vaccine.

“This extra scrutiny should instill confidence in the system that is in place to guarantee COVID-19 vaccine safety,” Dr. Danny Avula, the state’s vaccine coordinator, said in a statement Friday. “As with any vaccine, we encourage individuals to educate themselves on any potential side effects and to weigh that against the possibility of hospitalization or death from COVID-19.”

Avula received a J&J vaccine on April 1.

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