By Sahar Chmais
Texas will resume the use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine after receiving the greenlight from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is an important tool in our fight against COVID-19, and the scientific review over the last 11 days has affirmed its safety and effectiveness,” said Dr. John Hellerstedt, Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) commissioner. “We know some Texans prefer the simplicity of a single-dose vaccine, and the ease of storing and handling this vaccine gives providers more flexibility. Resuming the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will prevent hospitalizations and save lives in Texas.”
A recent study showed millions of Americans did not go back to take their second dose for a variety of reasons, some feared side effects of the second dose or believe they are sufficiently protected from one shot.
Although the J&J vaccine usage was reapproved on April 24, Texas has not received doses from the federal agency for this week, said Douglas Loveday, DSHS press officer. The vaccines will be available next week, Loveday added.
The CDC estimates that using the J&J vaccine in the U.S. will prevent more than 2,200 intensive care admissions and 1,400 deaths over the next six months. The J&J vaccine has caused rare but serious cases of blood clots in combination with low blood platelet counts, known as thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome, or TTS.
So far, 15 of the 7 million people who received the J&J vaccine developed TTS – most were women between the ages of 18 and 49 and experienced symptoms one to two weeks after vaccination.
CDC and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommend vaccination with J&J vaccine resumes among people 18 years and older.
“However, women younger than 50 years old should be aware of the rare but increased risk of [TTS],” according to the CDC vaccine recommendation. “TTS is a serious condition that involves blood clots with low platelets. There are other COVID-19 vaccine options available for which this risk has not been seen.”