Inslee reauthorizes Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to resume in Washington state

Gov. Inslee announced Saturday Washington will be able to allocate the Johnson & Johnson vaccine again.

The state reauthorization comes after reviews by the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup were made to determine the efficacy and safety of the single-dose vaccine.

"The Workgroup concluded that the J&J vaccine is safe and effective, and paired with patient and provider educational materials about potential risks, provides an important option to continue to reduce severe COVID-19 illness," stated in a press release from the governor's office.

On April 13th, the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) paused the use of the single-dose vaccine state-wide amid the reports and following guidance from the CDC and FDA.

"The benefits of the J&J vaccine outweigh the risks associated with it," Inslee said in a statement. "We want to keep as many people free from COVID and out of the hospital as possible, and the J&J vaccine will help us get through this pandemic. I encourage people to get whatever vaccine is available to them. If you have questions or concerns, consult a provider to help answer questions you have."

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) met on Friday to determine the future use of the vaccine and reaffirmed the use for people 18 years old and older, DOH says. The health department says the pause was only associated with the J&J vaccine, not including the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines.

DOH says they will continue to monitor the effectiveness of the single-dose vaccine.

RELATED: COVID-19 vaccine info: Where to get vaccinated in Washington state

The J&J vaccine was paused for nearly 11 days and most recently formally reauthorized by the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) on Friday. 

Out of nearly 8 million people vaccinated before the U.S. suspended J&J’s shot, health officials uncovered 15 cases of a highly unusual kind of blood clot, three of them fatal. All were women, and most younger than 50.

Advisers to the CDC voted 10-4 to resume the shot’s emergency use authorization in the U.S. for everyone 18 and older. The panel said Friday that the vaccine’s benefits outweigh that serious but small risk — especially against a virus that’s still infecting tens of thousands of Americans every day.

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