The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention paused the Johnson & Johnson vaccine on April 3, but cleared its use again nationwide on April 23, if states so choose. Mississippi has not chosen to, yet. Photo courtesy Johnson & Johnson
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lifted a pause on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine on April 23, paving the way for states to resume the one-shot vaccinations.
“Above all else, health and safety are at the forefront of our decisions,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky said in the statement. “Our vaccine safety systems are working. We identified exceptionally rare events—out of millions of doses of the Janssen COVID-19 administered—and we paused to examine them more carefully. As we always do, we will continue to watch all signals closely as more Americans are vaccinated.
While some states immediately resumed giving the vaccine, Mississippi has maintained its own pause.
In a statement to the Jackson Free Press this morning, Mississippi State Department of Health Communications Director Liz Sharlot confirmed that the state will not resume the Johnson & Johnson vaccination just yet.
“As of now, the Mississippi State Department of Health continues to pause Johnson and Johnson vaccine,” Sharlot said. “The Agency will review additional information and will advise the media and public if and when Mississippi resumes administration of the vaccine.”
Both the CDC and Mississippi State Department of Health paused J&J administration on April 13, citing rare but serious blood-clotting side effects. Various states had reported the side effects, but MSDH has not reported any cases from within Mississippi.
The CDC’s vaccine resumption comes as the rate of vaccination has slowed both in Mississippi and across the country. MSDH data show a 19% weekly drop in vaccinations over the last two weeks. The number of Americans missing their second dose continues to grow, though the rate differs throughout the country. MSDH data from December through February show a rate of 1.3% Mississippians missing their second dose, while the average across the country stood at 3.4%.
Current estimates show 8% of Americans, or more than 5 million people, have missed their second vaccine dose. Numerous issues have contributed to this growing problem, including vaccine hesitancy and problems keeping steady supplies of same-type vaccines for second doses, experts say.
Email Reporting Fellow Julian Mills at [email protected].