Arkansas Pauses Use of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine Following Reports of Blood Clots
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – At his weekly coronavirus response briefing, Gov. Asa Hutchinson made a familiar appeal to Arkansans: get vaccinated against COVID-19. His plea came just hours after the federal government recommended a pause on using Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine following reports of six instances of rare and severe blood clots in women between the ages of 18 and 48. Following a call with the White House, Hutchinson said the state would follow the recommendation from the CDC and FDA, but added the Arkansas Department of Health still has confidence in the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and emphasized the pause is intended to allow medical officials to understand the best way to respond to the adverse reaction. Although the state paused its use of the single-dose vaccine, Hutchinson said that should not dissuade Arkansans from receiving either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines instead. So far, about 25 percent of people have been fully immunized against COVID-19 and another 15 percent are partially immunized. Hutchinson said the state is at a crossroads and compared the trajectory of Arkansas’s virus cases to that of Michigan, which is currently experiencing a surge in infections. The briefing also included comments and updates from state officials about the state of schools and prisons at this point in the pandemic.