State: J&J vaccine again available in Louisiana

Louisiana

In this March 6, 2021, file photo, boxes stand next vials of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Providers can immediately resume vaccinating patients for COVID-19 using the Johnson & Johnson shot in Louisiana, state health officials said Saturday.

The Louisiana Department of Health “encourages all Louisianans to take advantage of the available vaccines, so the state can continue to slow the spread of COVID-19 and put the pandemic in its rearview,” the department said in a news release. “The pause was recommended after reports of six cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot in individuals following administration of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lifted the precautionary pause on the vaccine’s use late Friday. The two agencies determined the vaccine is safe and effective in preventing COVID-19 and available data shows that the vaccine’s known and potential benefits outweigh its known and potential risks in individuals 18 years of age and older.

“Safety is all of our top priority, and we appreciate the thorough review,” said Dr. Joseph Kanter, Louisiana’s State Health Officer. “We have the utmost confidence in the safety and monitoring process and commitment to transparency.”

More than 1.1 million Louisianans have completed their vaccinations against COVID-19. There have been around 85,000 Johnson and Johnson doses administered in Louisiana and no reported cases of the rare blood clot that prompted the vaccine’s suspension, the LDH statement said.

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