Gateway Mall site begins administering 1st-dose Pfizer shots amid J&J vaccine pause

The Federal vaccination site at the Gateway Mall resumed giving first doses of the Pfizer vaccine. This change comes as the site had to halt distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine last week due to concerns of potential blood clots linked to the vaccine. It's just one of the options for getting the vaccine around Northeast Florida.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The federally-supported COVID-19 vaccination site at Gateway Mall on Tuesday began administering first doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

The Gateway Mall site and the other federally-supported vaccination sites in Florida will be able to administer up to 3,000 first doses of the two-dose Pfizer vaccine per day, according to a statement from a spokesperson for the Florida Division of Emergency Management.

The change comes after the Gateway Mall site halted distribution of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine within hours of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration recommending a pause in use of the J&J vaccine to investigate reports of rare but potentially dangerous blood clots.

“These have been a handful of cases, not an overwhelming number of cases. We are working through and adjudicating them and verifying whether they do in fact reflect a true case. And that will be the work of the CDC this week, as well as the FDA. And then we will present that to ACRP (Association of Clinical Research Professionals) on Friday. So we’re doing that work right now,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Monday. “I’m encouraged that it hasn’t been an overwhelming number of cases, but we’re looking and seeing what’s coming.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci predicts the J&J vaccine pause could end later this week.

The state Division of Emergency Management said it’s still waiting for further instructions on developments with the J&J vaccine, and as that guidance becomes available, the capacity of 3,000 doses per day at the federally-supported vaccination sites could change. The state also said the sites may switch back to administering the J&J vaccine, depending on future guidance.

When News4Jax stopped by the Gateway Mall site on Tuesday, there were no lines.

RELATED: Where to get a COVID-19 vaccine in Northeast Florida

There are other locations around Northeast Florida to get COVID-19 shots. St. Johns County will be accepting walk-up appointments to get the Pfizer vaccine from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday at the Solomon Calhoun Community Center at 1300 Duval St.

The Florida Department of Health reported Tuesday that more than 8.1 million people in the state have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. It has been just over two weeks since the state opened up the eligibility to get the vaccine to Floridians 16 and older.