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Illinois Department of Public Health pauses use of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine (free)

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) paused the use of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday out of an abundance of caution after six reported U.S. cases of a rare and severe type blood clot developed in individuals after receiving the J&J vaccine.

The move comes after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommended the pause as a precaution.

The CDC and FDA are reviewing data involving the six cases of blood clots reported from a total of more than 6 million Americans who have received the J&J vaccine.  

In Illinois, of the total 7.3 million vaccine doses administered to date, just 4% have been J&J given to approximately 290,000 people. 

Those who have received the J&J vaccine and develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination should contact their health care provider. Patients with other clinical questions should contact their health care provider.

IDPH has notified all Illinois COVID-19 providers throughout the state to discontinue use of the J&J vaccine at this time. In order to keep appointments, IDPH is strongly advising providers to use Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. 

Moderna and Pfizer make up the vast majority of doses on hand in Illinois. This week, the state’s allocation of J&J was 17,000 doses. For the week of April 18, the expected allocation for the state is 483,720 total vaccine doses, with just 5,800 doses expected to be J&J.

The pause on the J&J vaccine will not have a large impact on state vaccination efforts. No state-supported mass vaccination sites will be closed and no rapid response team clinics, faith-based or equity clinics, or rural clinics have been canceled at this time.

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