Palm Beach County's top health official says the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be back, despite reports of it causing "rare and severe" blood clots in several patients.
Florida has stopped giving shots of the single-dose J&J vaccine for the time being after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended a pause in the use of the vaccine "out of an abundance of caution."
Six women between the ages of 18 and 48 developed dangerous blood clots, which surfaced six to 13 days after their vaccinations, according to the CDC.
So far, nearly 7 million Americans have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Speaking at a news conference on Tuesday afternoon, Palm Beach County health director Dr. Alina Alonso said there's "absolutely no problem" for residents who have already received the J&J vaccine.
"This is something that happened right after [the six women] got the vaccine. We have to see if it's related or not to the vaccine," Alonso said. "This is just a temporary pause until that gets resolved."
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Mayor Dave Kerner said Palm Beach County has never used the J&J vaccine at any of its county-operated vaccination sites, only at state-sponsored pop-up locations.
"As we sit here right now, this county is only administering, in this facility and all of our facilities, Pfizer and Moderna," Kerner said.
The Health Care District of Palm Beach County, which operates coronavirus vaccination sites at the South Florida Fairgrounds near West Palm Beach, South Florida Civic Center in west Delray Beach, and Burns Road Community Center in Palm Beach Gardens, only administers the two-dose Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
To make a vaccine appointment through the Health Care District, click here.
In addition to the state pop-up sites, Publix has been a major provider of the J&J vaccine in Palm Beach County. Until now, the grocery store chain had been booking appointments every Wednesday for that vaccine.
A spokeswoman for Publix said the grocery store chain is now "suspending the administration of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine at all of its pharmacy locations."
Publix said it will offer the Moderna vaccine during its next booking window, which will open at 7 a.m. Wednesday.
To make an appointment for the COVID-19 vaccine at Publix, click here.
"The Johnson & Johnson will be back. And it will continue to be used once that is resolved," Alonso said.
CDC officials will meet with the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices on Wednesday to review the six blood clot cases and determine if they were related to the J&J vaccine or an underlying medical condition.
"If it's indeed a reaction to the vaccine, it will be noted. And then people will know what to do if they have these conditions and how to react to it if this happens," Alonso said. "They take as long as they have to to make sure that the vaccine is safe."
Kerner received his first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday at the South Florida Fairgrounds.
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Health officials used Kerner's vaccination as an opportunity to encourage the younger generation to get inoculated as soon as possible.
According to Alonso, 55% of new COVID-19 cases in Palm Beach County are in patients between the ages of 15 and 54, saying that age group is the key to achieving herd immunity."
"This is in their hands now," Alonso said. "I have faith in our youth, and I have faith in this new generation that's gonna lead us forward in the years to come."