ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — The State Department of Health is directing all Maryland vaccine providers to pause administration of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine until further notice, following a recommendation from the CDC and FDA to pause the one-shot vaccine following reports of clots.

“Providers should continue to maintain their supplies of Johnson & Johnson vaccines in a manner that prevents wastage,” state health officials said.

READ MORE: FDA, CDC Recommend ‘Pause’ For Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine Over Clot Reports

As of Tuesday, 173,534 Marylanders have received the J&J shot in total, with more than 8,600 receiving the one-shot vaccine in the last day.

Gov. Larry Hogan told WJZ he only heard about the federal request to pause use on Tuesday morning.

 

“It required us to make immediate adjustments all over the state and changes to all of our distribution. We were able to take care of that very quickly,” Hogan said.

 

Hogan was briefed during a conference call with The White House.

“They paused out of an overabundance of caution,” the governor said. “…They don’t know if it’s connected or not but they’re stopping to make sure. They say it’s going to take a little while—maybe a week or two—for them to do that internal review and obviously we’re concerned about it and want to make sure they get all the answers to us.”

Hogan said Maryland’s vaccine distribution did not see a big impact because Johnson & Johnson’s supply had already been cut.

“We felt blindsided by the call last week that said we weren’t going to get any—and sort of shocked by the call today.”

In a joint statement from the CDC and FDA, officials said:

“As of April 12, more than 6.8 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine have been administered in the U.S. 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 (CVST) 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.

CDC will convene a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) on Wednesday to further review these cases and assess their potential significance. FDA will review that analysis as it also investigates these cases. Until that process is complete, we are recommending a pause in the use of this vaccine out of an abundance of caution. This is important, in part, to ensure that the health care provider community is aware of the potential for these adverse events and can plan for proper recognition and management due to the unique treatment required with this type of blood clot.

Right now, these adverse events appear to be extremely rare. COVID-19 vaccine safety is a top priority for the federal government, and we take all reports of health problems following COVID-19 vaccination very seriously. People who have received the J&J vaccine who develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination should 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.

The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.”

READ MORE: Hagerstown Mass Vaccination Site To Honor Johnson & Johnson Vaccination Appointments, Switching To Pfizer

The CDC and FDA provided more information about the pause below:

Local health officials are scrambling to honor appointments and worry about the impact on mobile vaccinations because the J&J vaccine did not need to be stored at such cold temperatures and required just one dose.

The Hagerstown mass vaccination site will honor all J&J appointments Tuesday but will actually administer Pfizer doses.

If you have any questions, call the vaccination support center at 1-855-MD-GOVAX (1-855-634-6829).

Here’s a breakdown county-by-county as we’re provided more information.

Baltimore City will be pause doses of Johnson & Johnson until further notice following guidance from state health officials, the CDC and the FDA.

City health officials said the pause will not “significantly impact” its local vaccination operations.

“The Baltimore City Health Department is utilizing the Moderna vaccine at our Baltimore City Community College vaccination clinic, as well as at our mobile vaccination clinics. We will continue to provide the Moderna vaccines to residents, as we await more details regarding the Johnson and Johnson vaccine,” city officials said in a statement.

Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine himself last month in a highly publicized event to encourage people to get vaccinated.

“It’s unfortunate,” he told WJZ of the Johnson & Johnson issue. “I feel fine. I feel healthy. We know it’s extremely rare. We do know for us in the city, the majority of our vaccines are coming from Moderna and Pfizer, to begin with, so the impact there should be minimal. We are thankful for the federal government for stepping in and making sure that people are safe as we continue through this pandemic.”

Baltimore County is also discontinuing the use of Johnson and Johnson, but keeping appointments and switching to Moderna or Pfizer.

Anne Arundel County officials said Tuesday they have 200 J&J vaccinations that they will not be administering. They are working to reschedule J&J appointments.

“The goal is to reschedule them although, for some of the people who were getting them, the point was to have a one-dose vaccine for simplicity, particularly our home-bound population,” said Dr. Nilesh Kalyanaraman, the Anne Arundel County health officer.

 

This isn’t the first problem with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

A mix-up last month at a Baltimore facility producing J&J ruined millions of doses and lead to a delay in FDA approval for the site causing shortages nationwide.

State officials said they will provide more information on this situation when it becomes available.

MORE NEWS: Baltimore City Health Officials Say They Will Switch To Moderna Doses While Johnson & Johnson On Pause

For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.