Johnson & Johnson vaccine pause impacts Milwaukee County clinics

The pause on administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, announced by health officials on April 13, is impacting clinics in Milwaukee but city officials aren't worried.

Officials said there is still plenty of vaccine supply between Pfizer and Moderna. Because of that, they remain optimistic.

"Less than 1.500 total doses of the over 82,000 we’ve administered have been J&J," Milwaukee Health Commissioner Kirsten Johnson said.

Federal officials, followed by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, directed the pause of Johnson & Johnson to investigate rare clotting reports.

"We don’t have to cancel any J&J appointments -- we didn’t have any specifically scheduled J&J appointments, so that’s not impacting us at all," said Johnson.

In Milwaukee, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was administered at mobile sites and shelters, and to teachers and the Brewers. As of Tuesday, about 16,000 doses of the vaccine had been administered across Milwaukee County before the pause.

"Johnson & Johnson has been by far the smallest number of vaccinations we have used, and we will continue to rely most heavily on the Pfizer right now," said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.

The good news, the Johnson & Johnson doses won't go to waste. Local clinics are storing them in the meantime.

"J&J has a pretty long shelf life when refrigerated and so we will -- and the recommendation has been -- to maintain that supply," said Dr. Ben Weston with the Milwaukee County Office of Emergency Management.

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While the Johnson & Johnson vaccine pause might be alarming to some, Milwaukee County officials said those who got the shot are at low risk.

"It’s one out of 10 chances of getting the disease versus one out of a million chances of having this adverse reaction, which may or may not be connected to getting the vaccination," Barrett said.

Local clinics are contacting those who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine out of an abundance of caution regarding what symptoms to look for. Anyone with questions can also contact any vaccination site.


WI DHS pauses administration of Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services is instructing Wisconsin vaccine providers to stop administering the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.