By Alan Gionet

DENVER (CBS4) – Colorado is set to put the Janssen vaccine, also known as the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, back into use after an advisory committee recommended to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration that it be re-authorized for use with label warning of the potential of blood clots. The clots, though rare among the over seven million doses of the Janssen vaccine given, have impacted 15 women, 13 of whom have been under the age of 50.

(credit: CBS)

“We are happy to have this highly effective, one-dose vaccine back as an option for Coloradans,” said Dr. Eric France, CDPHE chief medical officer. “We appreciate the caution the CDC and FDA took to evaluate the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and are ready to ramp back up distribution as quickly as possible,” said the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Dr. Eric France in a statement.

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Denver Health Medical Center’s chief medical officer Dr. Connie Price noted, “It’s an incredibly rare event and probably does greater good for the population is what the verdict was and in that regard, it’s not a surprise.”

Still to be solved however is the reason why it’s been happening.

“It could be a hormonal interaction. There could be a variety of things that are causing this side effect of concern but I don’t think we have enough numbers to be sure what it is,” said Price.

The pulling of the J&J vaccine has impacted vaccination efforts in Colorado.

“We did have to cancel some clinics yes, and we cancelled some of our outreach. We had the J&J planned for some of our mobile vans,” Price noted.

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“It has not significantly impacted us given we have easy access to Pfizer and Moderna,” said Sunrise Community Health’s Dr. Mark Wallace in an email. “The places where the J&J is pause is slowing us down and requiring us to change strategies is especially with homebound individuals (many seniors) and other populations that returning for a second dose is challenging (e.g., people experiencing homelessness, especially those in encampments, folks in residential treatment programs who might be discharged prior to a second dose, people who are incarcerated, etc.)”

They postponed some of their outreach to those populations but plan to be back on when the J&J is available again.

Many vaccine providers, including Denver Health Medical Center gave people a choice on the vaccines they were getting. That’s likely to continue.

“We still will go out with the vaccines available and we will make sure that people have a choice regardless of who they are and where they live,” said Price.

Would she recommend it to women?

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“I would feel comfortable recommending it making sure people know the data associated with the vaccine and making sure people know there are alternatives available if they’re at all uncomfortable,” she said.

Alan Gionet