Texas DSHS shares impact on vaccine distribution after use of Johnson & Johnson shot paused

Texas Politics

AUSTIN (Nexstar) — More than a quarter of eligible Texans have been vaccinated against COVID-19, according to an update from the Texas Department of State Health Services, or DSHS.

Approximately 43% of eligible Texans, roughly 9.7 million people, have received at least one dose, DSHS shared.

DSHS held its first virtual briefing since the the pause in the use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. DSHS asked providers earlier this week not to give out the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommended a temporary pause due to rare, yet serious complications involving blood clots.

The FDA reported six cases of blood clots developing from the more than 6.8 million doses of the vaccine that have been administered.

In a statement released earlier this week, DSHS said, “The pause is recommended following reports of blood clots in six individuals 6 to 13 days after receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Right now, these adverse events appear to be extremely rare and are being further evaluated to ensure vaccine safety. People who have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine who develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination should contact their health care provider.”

Dr. Jennifer Shuford, chief state epidemiologist, confirmed none of these cases happened in Texas, where more than half a million doses of this particular vaccine have been administered.

“The symptoms of this rare blood clotting events that are important to watch for include things like a severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness of breath, that occur within three weeks of getting the Johnson & Johnson vaccinations,” Shuford explained. “If you had the Johnson & Johnson vaccine within the last three weeks and you develop these symptoms, then please contact your health care provider for information about what you should do next.”

DSHS allotted approximately 700,000 first doses, mostly Pfizer and Moderna, to be distributed next week.

“If you’ve been hanging back and waiting for vaccine availability to increase, now is the time to look at where you can get vaccinated,” said Dr. Imelda Garcia, the agency’s associate director for laboratory and infectious disease services.

Department leaders explained Texas expected fewer doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to arrive in the state next week, and even fewer the week after, due to manufacturing delays.

The amount of vaccine doses provided to Texas has kept climbing recently. Last week the state reported it would receive more than 1 million first doses, which went to 2,011 providers across 200 counties. The state also ordered 626,290 second doses for people to complete the vaccine treatment, and an additional 900,000 doses — both first and second — are headed to pharmacies, federally-qualified health centers and dialysis centers by the federal government.

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