A bottle and syringes filled with the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. (Tribune News Service)

A bottle and syringes filled with the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. (Tribune News Service)

Bay Area health officers support safety of Johnson & Johnson vaccine

Nine health officers from the greater Bay Area on Sunday released a statement supporting recent federal guidance to lift the pause on the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine for adults.

The health officers, from the counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, and Solano, and the city of Berkeley, said they agree with findings that the vaccine is safe and the risk of developing the rare clotting disorder is extremely low.

On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and the Food and Drug Administration announced they would accept the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ recommendations to lift pausing on the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine for all adults.

According to the CDC, there have been 15 confirmed cases of the rare clotting event among nearly 8 million total doses administered in the U.S. All the cases have been women.

Sunday’s statement from the health officers recommends Bay Area health providers resume administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in an effort to prevent community spread and severe illness and death from COVID-19.

The region’s health officers also support adding a warning label and the Western States Scientific Safety Review’s recommendation that culturally and linguistically appropriate informational materials in an accessible reading level be made available.

The San Mateo County Health Department wasn’t included on the statement, but a representative said Sunday the health officer for the county agreed with lifting the pause on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Sonoma County’s health agency, which also didn’t appear on the statement, did not immediately return a request for comment Sunday.

Anyone who has received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine should contact their primary healthcare provider if they have concerns or if they develop severe symptoms of headache, abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination, the health officers said.

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