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Khaldun: J&J pause shows vaccine safety system works

a gloved hand holding a vial of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine
Mohammad Shahhosseini

Health care providers in Michigan have been given the go-ahead to administer the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. That’s as Michigan faces some of the worst coronavirus hotspots in the country.

Michigan health officials lifted a pause on the J&J vaccine based on advice from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC determined getting more people vaccinated outweighs the very remote risk of developing a blood clot.

Dr. Joneigh Khaldun is Michigan’s chief medical executive. She says the pause should instill more confidence in the COVID vaccines.

“So, I’m actually quite pleased by the process and the fact that our robust safety monitoring system for these vaccines works," she said.

The state never stopped administering the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, but Khaldun says being able to tap into the J&J stockpile is welcome news.

“Certainly the more people we can get vaccinated, the sooner we can end the pandemic,” she said.

Khaldun says providers are ready to go because they were told keep the J&J vaccine secure and in cold storage awaiting the CDC’s recommendation.

More than 220,000 have received the one-dose J&J vaccine so far.

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Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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