DeSantis, who got J&J shot, urges calm after FDA calls to pause vaccine

Gov. Ron DeSantis during a press conference. (Copyright 2021 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.)

PALMETTO, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis, who recently received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to protect against the coronavirus, said there is no need to panic after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday they were putting the vaccine on hold to investigate unusual clots in six women.

“We have not seen any significant effects with J&J here in Florida,” DeSantis said. “I think the track record thus far in Florida has been good. At the same time, because CDC is doing that, you know, we’re respecting that decision, we’re gonna follow that recommendation and monitor what they’re doing for the time being. But I think that what they’re doing is that of an abundance of caution.”

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DeSantis said when he received the J&J shot a few weeks ago his arm was sore for 45 minutes but he had no other side effects.

“I don’t think people should be worried who’ve already had it, who haven’t had any effects,” he said. “I think it’s likely going to be very effective for you.”

The reports of blood clots appear similar to a rare, unusual type of clotting disorder that European authorities say is possibly linked to another COVID-19 vaccine not yet cleared in the U.S., from AstraZeneca.

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.

U.S. federal distribution channels, including mass vaccination sites, will pause the use of the J&J shot, and Florida will do the same. 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.

“I don’t think people should be to be freaking out because if you look at found the six, there’s obviously probably some more because you haven’t identified any, but it’s still a very small number, and you also have to balance that against how many people are alive today because they had the J&J vaccine? I mean, there’s no question that it saved lives already,” DeSantis said, adding that he still expects the state to have “very robust availability of the vaccine.”

A CDC committee will meet Wednesday to discuss the cases and the FDA has also launched an investigation into the cause of the clots and low platelet counts.

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