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Indiana pauses use of Johnson & Johnson vaccine at clinics around state

Moderna vaccine will be sent to IMS
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Posted at 8:51 AM, Apr 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-13 16:50:04-04

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana State Department of Health announced Tuesday it will temporarily pull Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine from its vaccination clinics around the state.

The U.S. government called for an additional review of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine's safety after receiving reports six people developed "rare and severe" blood clots after receiving the shot. Nearly 7 million people have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

The announcement came as the state began a six-day vaccination clinic at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. ISDH will instead send the Moderna vaccine to be administered at the clinic until further notice. People will need to schedule a time to receive a second dose of the vaccine.

The state health department's chief medical officer Dr. Lindsey Weaver said people traveling to IMS received a text message around 8:45 a.m. saying the Moderna vaccine would be available. About 95% of people arriving at the track after the gates opened chose to get vaccinated, she said.

Weaver emphasized the rarity of the blood clot cases, but she said people who experience symptoms such as a headache, shortness of breath or chest pain in the three weeks after receiving the vaccine should speak to their doctor.

“I think something very important to remember here is that we really need people to get vaccinated. Whichever vaccine that they have available to them," Weaver said.

She added the state will better understand in the coming days what impact the Johnson & Johnson pause will have on Indiana's vaccination efforts.

"Of course, we need more vaccine here in Indiana, so any time where we’re receiving less or don’t have the ability to give as much as we would like, then, of course, that may hurt our vaccine efforts," Weaver said.

WRTV's Good Morning Indiana Anchor also spoke with Franciscan Health Vice President, Dr. Christopher Dohering, about what's so concerning about the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine at this time. Watch the video below to hear what he has to say:

The state has access to both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines.

The health department is still working out the logistics of where people will receive the second dose, but Weaver said it will be available when it is needed in 28 days somewhere in Indianapolis.

“We are notifying everyone that is coming through to be on the lookout for that," she said.

The current mass vaccination clinic is the second of three this month at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. A clinic is scheduled at the track from April 24-30.

“Right now, plan to keep your appointments," Weaver said. "We’re going to do everything we can in our ability to have vaccine available to people who want to come out to IMS and get vaccinated.”

RELATED | FDA, CDC recommend a pause in use of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine