Pause on J&J vaccine complicates access for vulnerable populations, officials say

For many vulnerable patient populations, such as homebound seniors and the homeless, the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine is the favored option, with the temporary pause on its use complicating vaccine equity efforts, The Washington Post reported April 14. 

The CDC and FDA recommended the U.S. pause use of the single-dose shot April 13 after six reports of rare and serious blood clots were reported in those who received the shot. While Janet Woodcock, MD, acting FDA commissioner, only expects the pause to last a few days as the agencies review the cases, the delay spurred the cancellation of scheduled vaccine appointments across the country.

Those with few other options were particularly affected, the Post reported. 

The pause prompted postponed vaccine clinics at a community health center in Central Iowa that had been steering J&J's vaccine to the homeless population. In Chicago, a vaccine program administering doses to homebound seniors was postponed, as well as a planned event to deliver shots to food service workers. The same was true in six northwest Ohio counties, where mobile clinics were canceled this week and next, the Post reported. 

"J&J has allowed us to reach marginalized NYers — homebound, NY's experiencing homelessness, folks being discharged from hospitals, incarcerated NYers," Mark Levine, city council member in New York City said in an April 13 tweet. "Imperative that we fill this equity gap," noting that the city had been administering about 4,000 doses of the single-dose shot per day. 

While many vaccine clinics were able to fill the gap with the Moderna and Pfizer vaccine, the alternative was less achievable for some areas due to the two-dose vaccines' storage requirements and scheduling protocols.

To read the full Washington Post article, click here. 


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