Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) today announced that Rhode Island will resume the administration of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine this week.

RIDOH writes in a press release that this decision was made following the recommendation last week by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that the temporary pause on the administration of Johnson & Johnson vaccine should be lifted. RIDOH says that the agencies are confident in the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine in preventing COVID-19.

“This pause in the administration of Johnson & Johnson vaccine demonstrates that we have rigorous safety systems in place, and those systems work,” said Director of Health Nicole Alexander-Scott, MD, MPH in a statement. “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 in Rhode Island. Everyone older than 16 years of age is now eligible to get vaccinated. Getting vaccinated is the best way to keep yourself and your loved ones safe when it comes to COVID-19.”

The pause was announced on April 13th after reports of six people experiencing adverse reactions involving a rare and severe type of blood clot called cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST). The problems were found up to two weeks after vaccination. During the pause, the issue was reviewed by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), which is a group that advises the CDC. The risk of CVST was also reviewed by medical and scientific teams at the FDA and CDC. Following this review, the CDC and the FDA determined that the vaccine’s benefits outweigh any potential risks, and that it is safe and effective in preventing COVID-19.

RIDOH reports that roughly 7 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have been administered in the U.S. More than 31,000 doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine have been administered in Rhode Island. There have been no reported cases of CVST among people vaccinated with Johnson & Johnson vaccine in Rhode Island.

Appointments for Johnson & Johnson vaccine will again be available on www.vaccinateRI.org this week, as well as through other channels. (People can also make appointments by calling 211.) Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a single dose COVID-19 vaccine available to people who are 18 years of age and older.

Rhode Island healthcare providers have been provided with information and guidance about CVST and appropriate medical treatment. Updated clinician guidance will continue to be provided. Healthcare providers should ensure patients understand the risk of any vaccine and have all of their questions answered prior to any vaccine administration. Patients do have a choice of which COVID-19 vaccine they receive. State vaccine sites will do their best to have as many vaccine options as possible.

Although the side effects of concern are extremely rare, the FDA and CDC recommend that people who develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness of breath within three weeks of receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine should immediately contact their health care provider.

Additional vaccine resources:

Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What'sUpNewp. 
Belmore has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in Rhode Island by Rhode Island Monthly readers in 2018, 2019, and 2020 and an honorable mention in the Common Good Awards in 2021.

Born and raised in Rhode Island, Belmore graduated from Coventry High School and the Community College of Rhode Island. In addition to living in Newport for 10 years, he has lived in Portsmouth, Coventry, Providence, Smithfield, Burrillville, and East Greenwich.

Belmore currently serves as Vice President of the Board Of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals. He previously served on the Board of Lucy's Hearth and the Arts & Cultural Alliance for Newport County.

Belmore and his wife, Jen, currently live in Alexandria, Virginia, a move they made in 2021. Read more about that here - https://whatsupnewp.com/2021/09/letter-from-the-publisher-some-personal-news/

Belmore visits Newport every couple of weeks to support the 12+ paid contributors What'sUpNewp has on the ground across Rhode Island, a place he called home for 39 years.

Belmore is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers, Society of Professional Journalists, and the North American Snowsports Journalists Association.

In 2020, Belmore was named Member of the Year by LION and won the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Newport County's Dominque Award.
Belmore can be contacted at ryan@whatsupnewp.com and 401-662-1653.