PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Following the recommendation of federal health officials, the state of Rhode Island will begin offering Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine after a two-week pause.
Use of the single-dose vaccine was halted on April 13 as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) investigated several reports of rare but severe blood clots.
Upon reviewing the issue, the two agencies lifted the pause late last week, saying they’re confident in the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness and that its benefits outweigh any potential risks.
The R.I. Department of Health announced Monday it will resume the administration of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine this week, adding that out of the 31,000 doses administered in the state, there have been no reports of adverse reactions to date.
“This pause in the administration of Johnson & Johnson vaccine demonstrates that we have rigorous safety systems in place, and those systems work,” Health Director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott said in a statement Monday. “We will continue to monitor both the safety and the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccine.”
“We continue to see that COVID-19 vaccine is preventing cases, hospitalizations, and fatalities,” she continued. “Getting vaccinated is the best way to keep yourself and your loved ones safe when it comes to COVID-19.”
The next batch of appointments at state-run vaccination sites and participating independent pharmacies will be posted at 9 a.m. Tuesday on VaccinateRI.org.
Data released Monday by the Health Department shows the state has administered more than 850,000 vaccine doses so far. More than 531,000 people are at least partially vaccinated, while roughly 357,000 are considered fully immunized.
Health officials also reported 588 new coronavirus infections since data was last released on Friday, and added 48 newly reported cases to prior-day totals.
Three more Rhode Islanders have died after contracting COVID-19, bringing the reported death toll to 2,663.
COVID-19 hospitalizations in the state fell to 134, according to the data, with 28 patients in the intensive care unit and 26 on ventilators.