DC, MD, VA temporarily pause use of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine after FDA reports blood clots

Health officials in Washington D.C., Maryland, and Virginia have temporarily discontinued the use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine after federal health officials recommended a "pause" on using the vaccine after six cases of a rare type of blood clotting were reported in the United States.

Tuesday afternoon, the Virginia Department of Health revealed that the CDC is investigating the death of a Virginia woman as part of its probe into the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Maryland and D.C. both say they have not reported any deaths linked to the single shot vaccine, nor have any Johnson & Johnson recipients in those jurisdictions reported the syndrome that prompted the investigation.

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"Following new guidance from the federal government, Virginia will temporarily pause all use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine until the @CDCgov and @US_FDA investigation is complete," said Virginia Governor Ralph Northam in a tweet.

Virginia’s Health Department announced those with Johnson & Johnson appointments will be contacted to reschedule. Both Prince William County and the City of Manassas did confirm the clinics scheduled at Metz Middle School in Manassas April 13 and 14 will still continue, just with the Pfizer vaccine.

"Based on the federal government’s recommendation and out of an abundance of caution, @MDHealthDept directs all Maryland COVID-19 vaccine providers to pause the administration of Johnson & Johnson vaccines until further federal guidance is issued," said the Maryland Department of Health.

Maryland paused walk-ups at Hagerstown and Salisbury. State and local health officials say Tuesday’s Johnson & Johnson vaccine appointments were still honored – recipients were switched to the Pfizer vaccine. 


D.C. Health issued the following statement:

"The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have recommended a temporary pause in the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine while they investigate several reports of rare but severe side effects related to clotting. As a result, DC Health has informed all of our vaccine providers to temporarily discontinue the use of Johnson & Johnson until the CDC and FDA can meet to discuss further.

All appointments scheduled to utilize Johnson & Johnson between April 13 and 17, have been cancelled.

Those persons will receive a new invitation tomorrow evening to book an appointment for later this week or next week."

Federal officials said Tuesday they are investigating unusual clots in six women.

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.

Costco declined to comment.

Walmart provided FOX 5 with the following statement:

As recommended by CDC and FDA, we immediately paused administration of the J&J vaccine until the federal government completes a thorough review.

If someone has an appointment and we have a different vaccine, they will receive the one available. If not, we will cancel their appointment and rebook for a later date once supply allows.    

The CDC says the Johnson and Johnson vaccine can last three month refrigerated and not punctured. Once punctured, the vile is good only up to two hours at room temperature or up to six hours refrigerated.  Those times are not to be combined. FOX 5 was told the vials are usually not punctured until health workers actually know how many people are either coming or there to receive the shot.