LA County to resume administering Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- With the federal government again approving use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, officials announced that the administering of the pharmaceutical company's one-shot vaccine would resume Saturday in Los Angeles County with warning materials about very rare instances of blood clots.

The county's chief science officer, Dr. Paul Simon, told reporters in an online briefing Friday that the county has about 13,000 doses of the J&J vaccine on hand, while another 25,000 doses may be in the possession of other providers such as pharmacies and health centers that receive allocations of vaccine directly from the state or federal governments.

An advisory committee for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended Friday that the J&J vaccine re-enter circulation, with a warning about potentially dangerous blood-clotting that occurred in 15 people -- out of about 7 million doses administered nationwide -- and prompted a hold on the vaccine earlier this month.

Within hours, the committee's recommendation was adopted by the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration, clearing the way for administration of the vaccine to resume.

"We're in the process of developing, or at least finalizing now, the educational materials that will be used for clients and also for providers so that we can move forward,'' Simon said.

Simon said Friday afternoon the county could resume offering the shots within one or two days. By early Friday evening, the county Department of Public Health announced that local vaccine providers could resume using the J&J shots, as long as they provide recipients with updated "fact sheets" providing information about the blood clots.

Simon continued to promote the safety of the vaccines, noting the low rate of the blood-clotting cases that forced a hold on the vaccine 10 days ago. He called it an "excellent vaccine."

"This side effect appears to be very, very rare, and we feel that there shouldn't be any reluctance on the part of people to be vaccinated with the J&J vaccine,'' he said.

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The county announced Thursday that it will administer shots on a walk-in basis, without appointments, at all of its large-scale vaccination sites through the weekend. That's a stark change from the early days of the vaccination effort, when appointments were in short supply.

"Since the vaccine entered L.A. County, we had experienced a shortage of supply that made it impossible to vaccinate our residents at the pace we were prepared to do,'' Simon said Friday. "That is no longer the case."

Through Monday, walk-up vaccinations will be available at:

-- Palmdale Oasis Recreation Center, 3850 E. Avenue S;

-- The Forum, 3900 W. Manchester Blvd., Inglewood;

-- Balboa Sports Complex, 17015 Burbank Blvd., Encino;

-- College of the Canyons, 25000 Valencia Blvd., Santa Clarita;

-- Cal State Northridge, 18343 Plummer St.;

-- Eugene Obregon Park, 4021 E. First St., Los Angeles;

-- Pomona Fairplex, 2370 E. Arrow Highway, gate 15; and

-- L.A. County Office of Education, 12830 Columbia Way, Downey.

City News Service contributed to this report.
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