Maryland Pauses Use Of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine; 6 Blood Clot Cases Reported Nationwide

Maryland Pauses Use Of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine; 6 Blood Clot Cases Reported Nationwide

Video Transcript


VIC CARTER: Vaccine fallout-- most walk-up vaccinations are now suspended in Maryland. This comes as the state works to make sure there is a large-enough supply after pulling the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Hello, everyone. I'm Vic Carter.

RICK RITTER: And I'm Rick Ritter. Most government-run sites are still honoring appointments after the sudden move to stop using the J&J vaccine.

VIC CARTER: While federal regulators are studying rare blood clots in six patients across the country, none of the cases is in Maryland.

RICK RITTER: And WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren live in Anne Arundel County tonight with more on this developing story. Mike.

MIKE HELLGREN: Rick and Vic, pharmacies like CVS here and also Walgreens have stopped using Johnson & Johnson. Many of the state's mass-vaccination sites have had to quickly pivot to Pfizer and Moderna. The governor says he first learned about the federal recommendation this morning.

Maryland is pausing use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine on the recommendation of federal regulators, after six reports of rare blood clots.

- Six out of seven million. You know, you have a one in 500,000 chance of being struck today by lightning, and this is a one in 1,250,000 chance.

MIKE HELLGREN: The cases involve women aged 18 to 48, who became sick within one to three weeks after receiving the vaccine. One patient died. Another is in critical condition. Symptoms include headaches, abdominal pain, leg pain, and shortness of breath.

ANTHONY FAUCI: So someone who maybe had it a month or two ago would say, what does this mean for me? It really doesn't mean anything. You're OK, because if you look at the frame-- the time frame when this occurs, it's pretty tight.

MIKE HELLGREN: 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.

NILESH KALYANARAMAN: The goal is going to be to reschedule them, although for some of the people who were getting them, the point was to have one-dose vaccine for simplicity, particularly our homebound population.

MIKE HELLGREN: Baltimore County will honor all appointments and use Pfizer or Moderna. Baltimore City says they do not expect a significant impact on vaccine operations, and people will be given Moderna instead at BCCC and mobile clinics. Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine himself last month in a highly publicized event to encourage people to get vaccinated.

BRANDON SCOTT: I feel fine, and I feel healthy. We know it's extremely rare. We do know, for us in a city, the majority of our vaccines have been coming from Moderna and Pfizer to begin with.

MIKE HELLGREN: Now, the acting head of the FDA says this pause could last a few days. The governor seemed to think it could last a few weeks. The CDC has an emergency meeting scheduled for tomorrow. Live in Anne Arundel County, Mike Hellgren, WJZ.