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SC News

South Carolina Pauses Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Distribution

Johnson & Johnson Vaccine
Mary Altaffer/AP
/
AP
FILE - In this Thursday, April 8, 2021 file photo, the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine sits on a table at a pop up vaccinations site the Albanian Islamic Cultural Center, in the Staten Island borough of New York. The U.S. is recommending a “pause” in administration of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to investigate reports of potentially dangerous blood clots. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina’s health department paused distribution of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine doses on Tuesday after federal health officials announced they were looking into possible links between the vaccine and severe blood clots.

The state placed the “immediate pause” on distribution of the vaccine and contacted providers Wednesday morning, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control said in a statement.

Dr. Edward Simmer, the agency's director, told news outlets that significant impacts aren't expected from the pause. About 95%, if not more, of the state’s vaccine sites do not give out the one-shot Johnson and Johnson vaccine, Simmer said.

The state has received about 7,000 Johnson & Johnson doses weekly, compared to roughly 40,000 weekly doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines each. Many of the vaccine sites receiving supplies of Johnson & Johnson are independent pharmacies spanning the state, according to an allocation document on the health agency website.

Still, some appointments are being rescheduled and vaccines swapped out for upcoming events, the agency said in its statement.

When asked about how the pause in Johnson & Johnson vaccines would affect South Carolina's vaccine rollout, Gov. Henry McMaster told reporters that “in the long run, there are a lot of people who don’t want to get a vaccination anyway.”

“We have plenty of places around the state, and they are easy to find, where people can get a shot if they want to," McMaster said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration had recommended vaccine providers hold off on the Johnson & Johnson doses as they investigated six cases of blood clotting, all in women between the ages of 18 and 48, reported across the 6.8 million people vaccinated in the country so far.

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Follow AP’s coverage of the pandemic at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic.