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Hawaii stops administering single-dose J&J vaccine amid federal ‘pause’

Updated: Apr. 13, 2021 at 2:56 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The state Health Department said Tuesday that Hawaii has stopped administering the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine amid a federal “pause.”

The pause will allow agencies to investigate rare blood clots associated with the shot. Both the FDA and CDC issued a statement saying they are recommending the pause “out of an abundance of caution.”

Hawaii health officials stressed that no one in Hawaii has developed blood clots after getting the vaccine. Nationwide, there have been 6.8 million Johnson & Johnson vaccines administered, but just six reports of potentially dangerous blood clots.

The blood clots were in women ages 18 to 48. Symptoms developed six to 13 days after vaccination.

People who received a Johnson & Johnson vaccine within the past few weeks are being asked to monitor themselves for symptoms and contact their healthcare provider if they experience a severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath.

However, state Health Director Dr. Libby Char said she still has confidence in the vaccine.

“These adverse events appear to be extremely rare, but this transparent and deliberate pause ensures the medical community is aware of the potential adverse events,” she said, in a news release.

Healthcare Association of Hawaii President and CEO Hilton Raethel said the good news is that the state has only been allocated a relatively small number of the Johnson & Johnson vaccines — about 50,000 doses. Of those, nearly 18,000 have been administered.

Hawaii has been primarily using the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, meaning that many more people in Hawaii can still get vaccinated.

Meanwhile, local clinics are already taking action.

In a statement, CVS/Longs Drugs said it is immediately stopping use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, and will be reaching out to all customers who were scheduled to receive the shot to let them know their appointment is being canceled. The company said it will follow up to reschedule.

This story will be updated.

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