Illinois And Chicago Resume Use Of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine

Bottles of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine await transfer into syringes for administering last month in Los Angeles.
Bottles of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine await transfer into syringes for administering last month in Los Angeles.
Bottles of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine await transfer into syringes for administering last month in Los Angeles.
Bottles of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine await transfer into syringes for administering last month in Los Angeles.

Illinois And Chicago Resume Use Of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine

People in Chicago and across Illinois can now resume getting the one-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, state and local health officials announced late Friday.

Federal regulators had recommended a “pause” on the use of the vaccine after six women who received it developed rare blood clots. But a safety review released Friday found the blood clots are “very rare events,” and that the benefits of taking the Johnson & Johnson vaccination against coronavirus outweigh the risks in people who are 18 and older.

In a statement Friday night, the Illinois Department of Public Health announced medical providers in the state can resume using the shot immediately.

“The pause was proof that the extensive safety monitoring system is working and was able to detect a very small number of adverse events,” the IDPH statement reads. “The FDA has concluded that the known and potential benefits of the J&J vaccine outweigh its known and potential risks.”

Local public health officials quickly announced Friday night that they’d resume using the Johnson & Johnson shot, effective immediately.

“Millions of people have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine with no serious side effects and serious reactions are extremely rare,” read a statement from the Chicago Department of Public Health. “The J&J vaccine is an important tool in the City’s vaccination strategy.”

Public health leaders have viewed the Johnson & Johnson shot as critical to getting people vaccinated quickly because it requires only one shot to help people develop immunity to the deadly COVID-19 virus. That’s been especially important recently as public health officials are racing to get more people vaccinated, and as COVID-19 cases have nonetheless continued to surge.

The two other shots that have been authorized for use – from Moderna and Pfizer – both require two doses, spaced several weeks apart.

Starting Saturday, Chicago public health officials say they’re resuming their use of the Johnson & Johnson shot at the Kennedy King College vaccination site in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood. The city says it will begin using the shot again starting next week at the Chicago Federation of Labor vaccination site, Chicago State University’s drive-through site, and in the Protect Chicago Homebound and Vaccination Bus programs.

Alex Keefe is an editor on WBEZ’s Government & Politics Team. Follow him @akeefe.