PHILADELPHIA–The Philadelphia Department of Public Health has paused the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine following a statement from the U.S. FDA regarding rare instances of blood clotting after receiving the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. The City and all partner clinics will not provide this vaccine until receiving further guidance.
People who have received the J&J vaccine, and who develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination, should immediately contact their health care provider. Health care providers are asked to report adverse events to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System at https://vaers.hhs.gov/reportevent.html.
“We are very concerned about this new development, and in the interest of safety, we are following the FDA’s guidance and telling all of our providers to immediately stop using the Johnson & Johnson vaccine,” Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said. “I have full confidence that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine that is still available is safe and effective and strongly encourage folks to get vaccinated with those vaccines as soon as possible.”
More than 182,000,000 doses of Pfizer and Moderna vaccine have been administered across the United States and surveillance systems have not found any reason to pause or stop the use of those vaccines. The Health Department strongly believes that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine are safe and effective. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are fundamentally different vaccines that work differently and should not have this problem.
As of April 12, more than 6.8 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have been administered in the U.S. The CDC and FDA are reviewing data involving six reported U.S. cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot in individuals after receiving the J&J vaccine. In these cases, a type of blood clot called cerebral venous sinus thrombosis was seen in combination with low levels of blood platelets (thrombocytopenia).
All six cases occurred among women between the ages of 18 and 48, and symptoms occurred 6 to 13 days after vaccination. Treatment of this specific type of blood clot is different from the treatment that might typically be administered. Usually, an anticoagulant drug called heparin is used to treat blood clots. In this setting, administration of heparin may be dangerous, and alternative treatments need to be given.
A number of clinics in Philadelphia were giving out Johnson & Johnson vaccine. These clinics are no longer giving out Johnson & Johnson vaccine and may have closed or switched to another vaccine. See the following list of changes:
Center City Vaccination Center (FEMA-supported clinic at the Pennsylvania Convention Center)
Will be open today, April 13, at noon and administer the Pfizer vaccine. The clinic will continue with the Pfizer vaccine for the foreseeable future and will maintain the current 6,000 appointments and walk-ups per day.
Esperanza Community Vaccination Center (FEMA-supported clinic at Esperanza)
Will be closed today, April 13. Beginning tomorrow, April 14, the clinic will switch to Pfizer vaccine and will maintain the current 1,000 appointments and walk-ups per day.
Health Department Community Clinics and Health Centers
Will be open with normal hours and operations, but will not use Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Philadelphia Fire Department Community Clinics
Will be closed until at least Monday, April 19.
Health Department and Partner Mobile Teams
Will continue operating, but will not use Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Partner Vaccine Clinics (including Black Doctor’s COVID-19 Consortium, federally qualified health centers, independent and chain pharmacies, hospitals, etc.)
These clinics will move to Pfizer or Moderna vaccine if they are using Johnson & Johnson vaccine. If they are unable to use Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, they may close. Please call ahead if you have an appointment scheduled with them.