Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine no longer recommended, so why do Virginia health leaders still offer it?

COVID-19 Vaccine

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — The Virginia Department of Health is following the lead of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory group and recommending Pfizer and Moderna vaccines over the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Last week, the panel made the recommendation after rare but serious blood clots caused the death of at least nine people following their J&J vaccination. They also concluded the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are overall more effective in combating the coronavirus overall.

But they will not be pulling them from their vaccination sites, according to Marshall Vogt, a senior epidemiologist with VDH’s Division of Immunization in the Office of Epidemiology.

“The J&J vaccine can still be used to prevent [COVID-19]. Some people may have allergic reaction to components to the mRNA vaccine or may want to stick with the J&J COVID-19 vaccine,” Vogt said.

Both Pfizer and Moderna are mRNA vaccines that require two initial doses roughly a month apart.

J&J’s vaccine initially was welcomed as a single-dose option that could be more palatable to those hesitant to get the shot.

However, now Vogt is even recommending those who received the J&J shot, get a booster of Pfizer or Moderna.

“The mRNA vaccines are a little more effective at preventing COVID-19 and also have a lower risk of these rare conditions that can develop,” Vogt said.

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