Kentucky Temporarily Pauses Use of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine

The entire state of Kentucky, including the Barren River District Health Department has paused the administration of Johnson & Johnson vaccination under the direction of the Kentucky Department of Public Health, the CDC, and the FDA.

The local health department issued the following statement about the pause.

“Due to the temporary pause in Johnson & Johnson vaccinations, we are providing (2-dose) Moderna vaccines during all scheduled vaccination clinics. Existing appointments will be honored with Moderna vaccine in place of Johnson & Johnson vaccine. If you currently have an appointment scheduled and wish to wait for the re-release of Johnson & Johnson vaccine, please contact us and cancel your appointment. We will notify the public when the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has been re-released, and appointments can be rescheduled at that time.”

The Barren River District Health Department is currently administering COVID-19 vaccines for individuals 18 years of age and older in all 8 of our county clinics. Due to vaccine supply, vaccine clinics will occur on specific days for each county. Once the appointments are full for April, they will schedule appointments again in mid-April for the month of May.

On Tuesday, Gov. Andy Beshear and Dr. Steven Stack, commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Public Health, advised all Kentucky vaccine providers to temporarily pause the use of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended the pause after extremely rare blood clotting conditions developed in six Americans who received the J&J COVID-19 vaccine, out of 6.8 million total Americans who have received it.

“Everyone should still get one of the other two COVID-19 vaccines during this pause. We cannot let this slow us down. The United States is going to get about 1.85 million more doses of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines this week. We should be able to make up any loss of appointments,” Gov. Beshear said. “Stay calm it looks like the risk here from the J&J vaccine is very, very small versus the really significant risk of being harmed by COVID.”

Gov. Beshear said the president’s chief medical adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky indicated the chance of developing blood clots after the J&J vaccine was less than 1 in 1 million. In contrast, 1 in 558 Americans has died of COVID-19 in just over 13 months.

The Governor reported 1,586,411 Kentuckians have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose so far. Yesterday, the Governor reported that vaccination data would update over the next two to three days after the state’s reporting system completed a security upgrade.

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