California and Local Officials Pause Use of Johnson & Johnson Vaccine After Clotting Issues

Team coverage on the impact of federal and state officials announcing a pause in use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine (4-13-2021)

Video Transcript

- California Department of Public Health just announced the temporary pause. We have team coverage, Debra Alfarone, with the latest from National Health leaders, but we begin with Anne Makovec, on the statewide impact. Anne.

ANNE MAKOVEC: Luckily, Johnson & Johnson vaccines only make up 4% of the state's current vaccine supply. The State Health Department followed the Fed's lead this morning, saying in part, "California is following the FDA and CDC's recommendation and has directed health care providers to pause the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine until we receive further direction. We do not expect a significant impact to our vaccination allocations." And as for the mass vaccination site at the Oakland Coliseum, I'm going to talk about that in a minute. But Governor Newsom is at a press conference right now and just to address this issue.

GAVIN NEWSOM: We have 8,800 individuals that have current reservations on the MyTurn app, and we're working to convert those reservations to Moderna and Pfizer alternatives in real time. More information will be forthcoming on that.

ANNE MAKOVEC: OK, and I mentioned the state-- the vaccination site at the Coliseum, the open Coliseum. The State Department of Emergency services has been running that. They say that they actually switched over to the Pfizer vaccine on Sunday. So, they don't expect any change in operations. Now, we got statements from almost all of our Bay Area counties today.

They're all planning to discontinue use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine without much trouble. Santa Clara and Contra Costa County expecting no disruptions. In Napa County, they did have a J&J clinic set up for today for 100 people, but they're just switching to Moderna, no problem. In Marin County, they say, this will mainly impact their mobile operations, but that is only about 3% of their supply.

And San Francisco's COVID Command Center reminded people today the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are proven to be highly effective at preventing hospitalization or death from COVID-19. The longer you wait to get vaccinated, the greater the risk of contracting COVID-19. Now, the governor just said, he's still expecting a June 15 full reopening of California despite this setback. But of course, everybody waiting for the next move from the FDA. And CBS reporter, Debra Alfarone is outside their Maryland headquarters with more. Debra.

DEBRA ALFARONE: And Anne, I can tell you this is really a big deal, a big shock to many people hearing about what's going on here. But really at this point, a link has not been determined between those blood clot disorders and the vaccine. Still though, they're halting the use of this in an abundance of caution. The CDC and FDA are recommending a pause in the use of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to investigate whether it has caused some rare blood clots.

ANTHONY FAUCI: You want to make sure that safety is the important issue here. We are totally aware that this is a very rare event. We want to get this worked out as quickly as we possibly can.

DEBRA ALFARONE: Officials say, there have been six reported cases of blood clots, out of more than 6.8 million doses delivered. All six cases occurred in women between the ages of 18 and 48, and their symptoms developed 6 to 13 days after receiving the vaccination.

ANTHONY FAUCI: There have been six out of the 6.85 million doses, which is less than one in a million.

DEBRA ALFARONE: Johnson & Johnson issued a statement saying there is no clear relationship between these rare events and its vaccine. There have been similar blood clot concerns with the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is not yet approved for emergency use in the US.

PETER MARKS: What we're seeing with the Janssen vaccines looks very similar to what was being seen with the AstraZeneca vaccine.

DEBRA ALFARONE: White House officials held a conference call with governors this morning, and they reassured state officials that they can still get a vaccine to everyone who wants one.

JEFFREY ZIENTS: We have more than enough supply of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to continue the current pace of about three million shots per day.

DEBRA ALFARONE: Still, governors are concerned that today's news will cause more people to not get vaccinated when it's their turn. And that's the thing, is halting the vaccine is really going to potentially go a long way in people losing confidence in it, even though nearly seven million people have gotten a shot of this vaccine. Len.

LEN KIESE: All right, a bump in the road, but hopefully, not a big one, Debra, as we move forward. Thank you.