Following a call from federal health agencies, all 50 states quickly paused or recommend that providers pause the administration of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine after six women in the United States developed a rare disorder involving blood clots within one to three weeks of vaccination. Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico also said they would halt administration of that vaccine.
CVS and Walgreens, the nation’s largest retail pharmacy chains, also said that they would immediately stop Johnson & Johnson vaccinations. Both companies said they were emailing customers whose appointments would be canceled and would reschedule appointments when able. Rite Aid would also be temporarily pausing the administration of the vaccine “out of an abundance of caution,” a spokesman said.
Publix and Wegmans, two sizable U.S. supermarket chains, likewise announced they would be suspending the use of that vaccine. Wegmans said it would cancel all appointments for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, but would continue to offer the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech doses where available, and Publix said that customers could schedule a Moderna vaccine online.
The retail giant Walmart “immediately paused” administration of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, and will offer customers with existing appointments a different vaccine if it’s available — but would cancel and rebook the appointment for a “later date” if supply is not sufficient, a spokeswoman said.
Gov. Mike DeWine of Ohio and the state’s chief health official said they were advising all state vaccine providers to temporarily halt use of the single-dose vaccine. Later in the day, Mr. DeWine announced that the state’s mass vaccination sites, which were slated to administer Johnson & Johnson shots, would close temporarily because of the pause.
Connecticut health officials said they told vaccine providers to delay planned appointments or give an alternative option if they had the supply. New York’s health commissioner, Dr. Howard Zucker, said the state would stop using the Johnson & Johnson vaccine while the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention evaluate the safety risks. Appointments for Johnson & Johnson’s shot on Tuesday at state mass sites would be honored with Pfizer doses, Dr. Zucker said.
California’s top epidemiologist, Dr. Erica Pan, said that the state would follow the federal guidance and was directing health care providers to pause the administration of the vaccine, “until we receive further direction from health and safety experts.”
The pause in California comes before the state is set to expand eligibility to anyone age 16 and older on Thursday — a move that some experts have worried will lead to frustration, as an explosion in demand for doses coincides with a decrease in supply and strains an already-confusing patchwork of appointment systems. Questions loomed about how long the pause would last, as well as whether the slowing of supply would affect the state’s reopening plans.
Gov. Gavin Newsom said on Twitter that the state is vaccinating more than 3 million people per week, and that the state is “still on track to fully reopen” on June 15 — but the plan is dependent on widespread accessibility of vaccines.
The Biden administration on Tuesday insisted that the pause would not disrupt vaccination efforts, which has accelerated in recent weeks as a rise in new virus cases threatens a fourth possible surge. Jeffrey D. Zients, the White House Covid-19 response coordinator, said the government would still have ample doses to cover every adult who wants to be vaccinated by the end of next month. Many states have already opened vaccination eligibility to all adults and others plan to by next week.
As of Monday, 36 percent of the country’s total population has received at least one shot of a vaccine, and 22 percent are fully vaccinated, according to data from the C.D.C.
Even though the reaction to the Johnson & Johnson shot is rare, any questions about the safety of the shots could bolster vaccine hesitancy.
Over seven million people in the United States have received Johnson & Johnson shots so far, and roughly nine million more doses have been shipped out to the states, according to data from the C.D.C. The six women who developed blood clots were between the ages of 18 and 48. One woman died and a second woman in Nebraska has been hospitalized in critical condition.
Scientists with the F.D.A. and C.D.C. will jointly examine possible links between the vaccine and the disorder and determine whether the F.D.A. should continue to authorize use of the vaccine for all adults or limit the authorization. Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, a White House medical adviser, suggested that the vaccine would likely be brought back into play. But “I can’t guarantee it,” he said.
What You Need to Know About the Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Pause in the U.S.
The C.D.C.’s outside advisory committee of independent experts has scheduled an emergency meeting for Wednesday.
Like many states, New York had already prepared for a significant drop in its supply of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine after federal officials said that supplies would be limited because of a production issue at a Baltimore manufacturing plant. On Friday, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said that New York expected to receive 34,900 Johnson & Johnson shots, a decrease of 88 percent from the previous week.
Dr. Zucker, New York’s health commissioner, said that the state would honor appointments made at state-run mass vaccination sites for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine by giving people the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine instead. At an appearance later, Mr. Cuomo said that the state had enough supply of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines on hand to be able to adhere to its current vaccination pace.
Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City said that the city would work with its vaccination sites to help people get appointments for the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine instead, rescheduling appointments at city-run vaccine sites.
Both Mr. Cuomo and Mr. de Blasio received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at separate appearances last month, which they framed as an effort to boost confidence in that vaccine’s efficacy rate and to address vaccine hesitancy.
The city’s health commissioner, Dr. Dave Chokshi, said that about 234,000 residents have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and none had reported any blood clots so far. The city had been relying on the vaccine to inoculate hard-to-reach New Yorkers, including people who are homebound.
Regulators in Europe and elsewhere are concerned about a similar issue with another vaccine, developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University researchers. That vaccine has not been authorized for emergency use in the United States.
Rebecca Robbins, Jill Cowan, Denise Grady, Carl Zimmer and Sharon Otterman contributed reporting.