April 24, 2021 — The Texas Department of State Health Services today issued a statement following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) recommendation to life the temporary suspension of use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine:
“The Texas Department of State Health Services has notified vaccine providers in the state that they should resume using the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. The announcement comes after a thorough safety review and a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory committee’s determination that the vaccine’s benefits outweigh its risks.
“The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is an important tool in our fight against COVID-19, and the scientific review over the last 11 days has affirmed its safety and effectiveness,” said Dr. John Hellerstedt, DSHS commissioner. “We know some Texans prefer the simplicity of a single-dose vaccine, and the ease of storing and handling this vaccine gives providers more flexibility. Resuming the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will prevent hospitalizations and save lives in Texas.”
The CDC estimates that using the vaccine in the United States will prevent more than 2,200 intensive care admissions and 1,400 deaths over the next six months. The vaccine was paused April 13 after the vaccine safety system identified six rare but serious cases of blood clots in combination with low blood platelet counts, known as thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome, or TTS. A total of fifteen cases of TTS have been identified in the U.S. out of the more than seven million people who have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Most were in women between the ages of 18 and 49 who experienced the first symptoms one to two weeks after vaccination.
DSHS has shared information on how to treat TTS with health care professionals across the state, and they should review the updated Fact Sheet for Healthcare Providers. Vaccine providers should share information from the updated Fact Sheet for Recipients and Caregivers with everyone who receives the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. While TTS is extremely rare, people should seek medical attention if they experience any of these symptoms within three weeks of receiving the vaccine:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Leg swelling
- Persistent abdominal pain
- Severe or persistent headaches or blurred vision
- Easy bruising or tiny blood spots under the skin beyond the site of the injection”