ATLANTA – Georgia health officials are pausing all vaccinations of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine following guidance from the federal government.
The Georgia Department of Public Health made the announcement early Tuesday, shortly after the federal authorities say they will investigate rare but serious cases of blood clots in some people who received the vaccine.
In a joint statement Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration said they were investigating unusual clots in six women that occurred 6 to 13 days after vaccination.
The clots occurred in veins that drain blood from the brain and occurred together with low platelets. All six cases were in women between the ages of 18 and 48.
More than 6.8 million doses of the J&J vaccine have been administered in the U.S., the vast majority with no or mild side effects.
“I’d like to stress these events appear to be extremely rare. However COVID-19 vaccine safety is a top priority,” FDA Acting Commissioner Janet Woodcock said at Tuesday a news conference. “We expect it to be a matter of days for this pause.”
Federally run mass vaccination sites will pause the use of the J&J shot, and states and other providers are expected to follow. The other two authorized vaccines, from Moderna and Pfizer, make up the vast share of COVID-19 shots administered in the U.S. and are not affected by the pause.