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U.Va. Health, BRHD and VDH pause distribution of Johnson & Johnson vaccine

This decision comes after the CDC, FDA paused distribution pending the review of six cases of a rare blood clot disease out of the 6.8 million total J&J vaccines administered

<p>University students who signed up to receive the vaccine through U.Va. Health will now receive either Pfizer or Moderna.&nbsp;</p>

University students who signed up to receive the vaccine through U.Va. Health will now receive either Pfizer or Moderna. 

U.Va. Health officially paused the distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine following the development of a rare blood clot disease in six Americans, meaning that University students who signed up to receive the vaccine through U.Va. Health will now receive either Pfizer or Moderna. 

“Vaccinations at our Seminole Square vaccination center and at community outreach events are expected to continue as scheduled with our existing supplies of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines,” said Eric Swensen, public relations officer for U.Va. Health, in an email to The Cavalier Daily. 

The Blue Ridge Health District also said it would stop Johnson & Johnson vaccines until further notice in a tweet. Individuals in the BRHD who were scheduled to receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine can reschedule their appointment for a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.

The Virginia Department of Health officially paused all Johnson & Johnson vaccinations Tuesday after six women between the ages of 18 and 48 developed a rare blood clot disease within the weeks following their vaccinations. Scientists from the Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are working to determine whether there is a link between the disease and the vaccine, as well as whether the vaccine should be limited to certain population groups. Over 6.8 million Johnson & Johnson vaccines have been administered so far in the U.S. 

VDH said that distribution of Johnson & Johnson vaccines will be paused until the federal investigation is complete.

“This pause is reassuring in that it demonstrates that the systems that are in place to monitor vaccine safety are working,” VDH said. “We look forward to a thorough review by federal health officials. Meantime, we will continue Virginia’s vaccine rollout at this time with the other two authorized vaccines, developed by Pfizer and Moderna.”

The Blue Ridge Health District entered Phase 2 of vaccine distribution Monday, which includes all individuals 16 and older. Individuals in the BRHD eligible under phase 2 will receive email invitations over the course of the week where they can schedule appointments via the Vaccine Administration Management System. Roughly 45,000 people in the health district became eligible under this expansion, according to BRHD Deputy Public Information Officer Jason Elliott.

At a press conference Monday, the BRHD said that it expects to receive fixed allotments of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccine in the coming weeks — 3,330 first doses and 800 second doses of Moderna will be provided and 5,850 first doses and 1,170 second doses of Pfizer will be given this week. An additional 5,850 first doses and 2,340 second doses of the Pfizer vaccine will be allocated to the U.Va. Health Seminole Square Community Vaccination Site.

Due to a “marked decrease” in allotment of Johnson & Johnson vaccines from the Virginia Department of Health, the BRHD did not receive additional doses of the vaccine this week.