TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said the state will follow federal authorities recommendations and pause the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine after a few women experienced blood clots.
Both the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration have recommended the hold of the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine after it was linked to rare blood clots in female recipients. According to the CDC, six women between the ages of 18 and 48 experienced blood clots. One woman died and a second woman was hospitalized in critical condition.
“We’re respecting that decision, we’re going to follow that recommendation and monitor what they’re doing for the time being,” DeSantis said at a news conference in Manatee County. “But I think what they’re doing is out of an abundance of caution. I don’t think people should be worried who have already had it who haven’t had any effects. I think it’s likely to be very effective for you.”
An advisory committee will meet on Wednesday to review their findings and determine how to proceed.
“There’s no question that it’s [the Johnson & Johnson vaccine] saved lives already,” DeSantis said. “Hopefully they’ll do this quickly, get the information, and then hopefully we can move forward. My hope would be this is something that’s a little bit of a speed bump.”
Both state and federally-run sites will pause the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine until further notice. The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are not affected by the pause.
The federal vaccine site at the Tampa Greyhound Track has stopped offering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and will only administer second doses of the Pfizer vaccine. Three Tampa pop-up clinics that were offering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have been postponed.
“We’re not turning people away, we are advising people we do not have today and it is for your safety,” Incident Commander with the Florida Department of Emergency Management Carole Covey said. “It’s just a safety concern, we want to take a pause, make sure everyone is on the same page.”
Brian Green drove from Saint Petersburg to Tampa Tuesday hoping to get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine Tuesday. He was one of many people who got the bad news once he arrived at the Tampa Greyhound Track.
“I was kind of pissed off because they said I could get a shot here,” Green said. “I need a shot.”
Pinellas County sites are using the Pfizer vaccine, which is not affected by the hold.
Nearly 7 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have been administered in the United States with most people reporting no or mild side effects.