UDOH statement on Johnson & Johnson vaccine

(Salt Lake City) – The Utah Department of Health (UDOH), following the direction of the FDA and CDC, is today lifting the statewide pause on the administration of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.

This action follows a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). Effective immediately, COVID-19 vaccine providers in Utah may resume administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to anyone 18 years of age or older. The Committee voted 10-4 in favor of the action following lengthy discussions weighing the benefits of getting as many people vaccinated as possible against the risks of very rare reactions. Out of more than 8 million people who had been vaccinated with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, 15 people, all females, experienced a rare blood clotting condition, and three died.

  • Johnson & Johnson and regulators plan to add language to the product label warning of the potential for a rare blood-clot condition.
  • For some women younger than age 50, there may be increased risks from the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. These women may choose to speak with their health care provider prior to receiving the vaccine, or choose another vaccine manufacturer. They may also choose to wait to be vaccinated until after next Tuesday when CDC releases further guidance.

CDC will release official guidance next Tuesday, but you can read their full statement here.

“For many Utahns, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is the best vaccine,” said Governor Spencer Cox. “A single dose gives us the best chance of vaccinating people who are hard to reach by geography, those who are hard to reach because of personal schedules, those who might be less likely to return for a second shot, and even those who don’t like needles. We are relieved that these doses will rejoin our arsenal in the fight against COVID-19.” 

Health care providers administering the vaccine and vaccine recipients or caregivers should review the Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine Fact Sheet for Healthcare Providers Administering Vaccine and Fact Sheet for Recipients and Caregivers, which have been revised to include information about the risk of this syndrome, which has occurred in a very small number of people who have received the Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine.

Prior to the pause, more than 86,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine had been administered in Utah. Approximately 53,000 additional unused doses remain on the shelves of vaccine providers throughout the state.

“Utah residents should be confident in the process that led to the pause, and also the process that led to the lifting of the pause,” said Dr. Michelle Hofmann, deputy director of the UDOH. “This situation is evidence that the system that ensures vaccine safety in our country works. A potential issue was identified, investigated, and addressed in a manner that allows for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to again be safely administered in our state.”

Johnson & Johnson doses will resume shipping next week, and providers may now use any doses they have on-hand.