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Arlington Pauses Use of J&J Vaccine After Federal Warning

Arlington County is halting use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine after a federal warning about rare blood clots.

The temporary pause in use of the one-shot vaccine at county-operated vaccine clinics is “out of an abundance of caution,” Arlington County said in a statement this morning.

D.C., Maryland and other Virginia jurisdictions are also pausing administration of the J&J vaccine, after a recommendation from the Centers for Diseases Control (CDC) and the Federal Drug Administration (FDA).

“The CDC and FDA announced on Tuesday the review of data involving six reported cases of a rare and severe blood clot in individuals after they received the J&J vaccine,” Arlington County said. “Right now, these adverse events appear to be extremely rare. As of April 12, nearly 7 million doses of J&J have been administered in the United States.”

“All six cases occurred among women between the ages of 18 and 48, and symptoms occurred 6 to 13 days after vaccination,” the CDC and FDA noted in a joint statement.

In a press conference Tuesday morning, federal officials said at least one person was in critical condition as a result of the clots. There is no evidence of similar reactions to the two-shot Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, they said. The pause is expected to last only a few days, and officials emphasized that the condition is serious, but exceedingly rare.

The county, meanwhile, says that those with appointments for J&J shots today will receive the Moderna vaccine instead.

“Individuals who have appointments Tuesday, April 13, at the Lubber Run Community Center, where Johnson and Johnson was being administered, will be offered the Moderna vaccine,” said the county statement. “The County will continue to hold clinics to the extent it receives available doses of Pfizer and Moderna over the next few days. Appointments may need to be rescheduled depending on whether the County receives additional doses of other vaccines or learns more about the status of the J&J vaccine.”

Arlington has accelerated its vaccination efforts recently thanks to more vaccine supply from the state, which is pushing to open appointments to the general public by next week. As of this morning, the county reached new seven-day highs for both vaccine shots administered and people fully vaccinated: an average of just over 2,700 shots per day and nearly 1,500 people fully vaccinated per day.

Nationally, the White House says it does not expect the pause in J&J shots to hinder its vaccination goals.

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