How pausing Johnson & Johnson vaccinations impacts the Kansas City metro

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FILE – In this March 25, 2021 file photo, a box of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine is shown in a refrigerator at a clinic in Washington state. A batch of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine failed quality standards and can’t be used, the drug giant said late Wednesday, March 31, 2021. The drugmaker didn’t say how many doses were lost, and it wasn’t clear how the problem would impact future deliveries. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The decision to pause Johnson & Johnson vaccinations to give the CDC and FDA time to review data involving six reported U.S. cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot in individuals left some organizations scrambling Tuesday morning.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment announced it would follow guidance from the CDC and pause administration of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. It’s also asking providers in the state to follow suit even though there are no known cases of the vaccine causing clots reported in Kansas.

“Out of an abundance of caution, Kansas will suspend Johnson and Johnson until the CDC and FDA clear it for use again. In the meantime, we anticipate our shipments of Pfizer and Moderna to continue,” Governor Laura Kelly said.

In Missouri, the Department of Health and Senior Services also announced it would stop using the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, at least for now.

“We are pausing vaccination with Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine until further notice in Missouri,” Dr. Randall Williams, director of the Department of Health and Senior Services, said. “We anticipate having more information shortly to make further decisions about overall vaccine distribution in light of this new development and will continue to update citizens who have been vaccinated with the J&J vaccine.”

HEALTH DEPARTMENTS CHANGE PLANS

The Platte County Health Department scrambled to change plans and notify as many as 750 people scheduled to receive the vaccine in Riverside Tuesday. That clinic was canceled and those with appointments are now asked to reschedule through Missouri’s Vaccine Navigator or by calling 1-877-435-8411.

The Kansas City Missouri Health Department said the pause may also complicate a vaccination clinic it is working to organize at Worlds of Fun next month.

The Unified Government Public Health Department said it used J&J vaccines at some of its vaccination clinics. Moving forward it plans to use Pfizer and Moderna at those locations.

In coordination with the Federal Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment said it would immediately pause administration of Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine, pending further investigation of safety concerns.

Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health also made the decision to pause giving J&J vaccines at its upcoming clinics. Its said roughly 1,300 doses of Johnson & Johnson have been administered through
the county’s allotment either given to providers or at smaller clinics in recent weeks, including at the
Lied Center of Kansas and Holcom Recreation Center last Saturday. It plans to administer Pfizer vaccine at it’s upcoming mass vaccination clinics at the Douglas County fairgrounds.

RETAIL PHARMACIES SWITCH VACCINES

Hy-Vee stopped all clinics that were giving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at this time. If your vaccine is impacted, the company said you should have already been contacted and rescheduled. Future vaccination clinics will be administering either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.

Customers with appointments at Ball’s Price Chopper or Hen House locations this week received an email Tuesday morning. The email said that store pharmacies will not be administering any Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccination until that research is completed. There are a limited number of appointments available to get other vaccines. Those appointments can be scheduled online.

Those heading to Cosentino’s Price Chopper locations for vaccines don’t need to worry. The chain said it cancelled it’s J&J vaccine this morning and told those customers it will reschedule them for a future time. The majority of the remaining appointments are either Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.

CVS joined other companies and announced it paused using Johnson and Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine. It continues to offer both Moderna and Pfizer vaccines. The company said it is emailing all customers with appointments to receive the J&J vaccine to inform them their appointment is canceled. Customers will need to reschedule appointments as soon as possible.

Walgreens announced Tuesday it would immediately suspend the administration of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at stores and off-site clinics as it awaits further guidance. The company is reaching out to patients with scheduled appointments to reschedule vaccinations from other manufacturers, as supply allows.

METRO ORGANIZATIONS RETHINK OPTIONS

Smaller organizations were also affected by the announcement. KC Shepherd’s Center planned to make home deliveries and vaccinate seniors who are homebound with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine tomorrow, but that plan is on hold.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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