Colorado health leaders OK use of Johnson & Johnson vaccine

Colorado News

FILE – In this April 8, 2021 file photo, the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine is seen at a pop up vaccination site in the Staten Island borough of New York. With a green light from federal health officials, several states resumed use of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine on Saturday, April 24. Among the venues where it’s being deployed is the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where free vaccinations were available to anyone 18 or older. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

DENVER (AP) — Colorado can resume using the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine now that federal regulators have lifted an 11-day pause on the shot, state public health leaders said.

“We are happy to have this highly effective, one-dose vaccine back as an option for Coloradans,” Dr. Eric France with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said in a prepared statement, the Denver Post reported Saturday. “We appreciate the caution the CDC and FDA took to evaluate the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and are ready to ramp back up distribution as quickly as possible.”

The federal government paused use of the J&J shot — also called the Janssen vaccine — after 15 of the nearly 8 million people to receive the vaccine developed a highly unusual kind of blood clot. All were women and most were under age 50. Three died and seven remain hospitalized. Ultimately, federal health officials decided the one-dose vaccine is critical to fighting the pandemic, and that warnings about the small risk of clots could be issued to help younger women weigh which brand of vaccine they should use.

The shot will be resumed in Colorado with an updated warning from the Food and Drug Administration. France said vaccine providers and recipients should review the updated vaccine fact sheets.

“Vaccine safety and the health and safety of all Coloradans is a top priority,” France said. “The CDC and FDA conducted this investigation and review out of an abundance of caution … a result of their long-standing and ongoing safety monitoring processes of all vaccines.”

Nearly 500,000 cases of coronavirus have been reported in Colorado since the pandemic began, along with nearly 6,400 COVID-19 deaths, according to the Department of Public Health and Environment. Roughly 2.64 million residents have received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine so far, according to the department.

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