Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Health notified all COVID-19 vaccine providers that the pause in administering doses of the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine has been lifted. The move follows updated guidance announced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Last week, the department recommended the pause in administering Johnson & Johnson vaccine until further guidance from the CDC and FDA was available as the federal agencies continued to review the incidents of rare blood clots that occurred within two weeks of receiving Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices held an emergency meeting today, determining that these incidents are extremely rare, and that the vaccine is safe and effective for all individuals moving forward.

The cases of the combined rare blood clots with low platelet counts occurred in women primarily between the ages 18 and 48 who were among the 6.8 million Americans who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Out of the more than 7.6 million vaccine doses that have been administered in Pennsylvania, only 271,132 doses have been Johnson & Johnson.

This latest announcement shows that the federal oversight process of a vaccine’s safety and effectiveness is working, and all steps are being taken to protect Americans.

“After a thorough review, federal experts have determined that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is safe for all individuals,” Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam said. “We continue to urge individuals to get vaccinated as soon as possible with any of the three vaccines available to them. Getting vaccinated is essential as we work to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and also of serious and fatal complications due to the virus.”

Individuals who receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine who develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness of breath within three weeks of their vaccination should still contact their health care provider. For more information, find the CDC/FDA announcement online at: https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-and-cdc-lift-recommended-pause-johnson-johnson-janssen-covid-19-vaccine-use-following-thorough

The department has sent communications to vaccine providers, stakeholder groups and others announcing the resumption of the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the effort to vaccinate Pennsylvanians.

It is important for all Pennsylvanians to remember they have a choice as to which of the three safe and effective vaccines they receive.

While COVID-19 vaccine supply from the federal government remains limited, the Department of Health is working to ensure the vaccine is provided in a way that is ethical, equitable and efficient. To keep Pennsylvanians informed about vaccination efforts:

·         All Pennsylvanians age 16 and older are eligible to schedule a COVID-19 vaccine. The provider map is available here.

·         A commonwealth COVID-19 vaccination guide explains the current process for getting one. Pennsylvanians with questions about the vaccination process can call the Department of Health hotline at 1-877-724-3258.

·         Vaccine provider map to find a COVID-19 vaccine provider near you.

·         All of the locations that received vaccine and how much they have received can be found on the COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution webpage.

·         Vaccine dashboard data can also be found on the website to find more information on the doses administered and showcase demographic information.

·         Frequently asked questions can be found here.

The Wolf Administration stresses the role Pennsylvanians play in helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19:

·         Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

·         Cover any coughs or sneezes with your elbow, not your hands.

·         Clean surfaces frequently.

·         Stay home to avoid spreading COVID-19, especially if you are unwell.

·         If you must go out, you are required to wear a mask when in a business or where it is difficult to maintain proper social distancing.

·         Download the COVID Alert PA app and make your phone part of the fight. The free app can be found in the Google Play Storew and the Apple App Store by searching for “covid alert pa”.

Updated Coronavirus Links: Press Releases, State Lab Photos, Graphics

·         Daily COVID-19 Report

·         Press releases regarding coronavirus

·         Latest information on the coronavirus

·         Photos of the state’s lab in Exton (for download and use)

·         Coronavirus and preparedness graphics (located at the bottom of the page)

·         Community preparedness and procedures materials