PA Vaccine Update - PA to Resume Use of J&J Vaccine; New Data to Outline Equitable Distribution

April 23 - The Pennsylvania Department of Health has notified all COVID-19 vaccine providers that the pause in administering doses of the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine has been lifted. The move follows updated guidance announced today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Last week, the department recommended the pause in administering Johnson & Johnson vaccine until further guidance from the CDC and FDA was available as the federal agencies continued to review the incidents of rare blood clots that occurred within two weeks of receiving Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices held an emergency meeting today, determining that these incidents are extremely rare, and that the vaccine is safe and effective for all individuals moving forward.

The cases of the combined rare blood clots with low platelet counts occurred in women primarily between the ages 18 and 48 who were among the 6.8 million Americans who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Out of the more than 7.6 million vaccine doses that have been administered in Pennsylvania, only 271,132 doses have been Johnson & Johnson.

This latest announcement shows that the federal oversight process of a vaccine’s safety and effectiveness is working, and all steps are being taken to protect Americans.

“After a thorough review, federal experts have determined that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is safe for all individuals,” Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam said. “We continue to urge individuals to get vaccinated as soon as possible with any of the three vaccines available to them. Getting vaccinated is essential as we work to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and also of serious and fatal complications due to the virus.”

Individuals who receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine who develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness of breath within three weeks of their vaccination should still contact their health care provider. For more information, find the CDC/FDA announcement online at:

The department has sent communications to vaccine providers, stakeholder groups and others announcing the resumption of the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the effort to vaccinate Pennsylvanians.

It is important for all Pennsylvanians to remember they have a choice as to which of the three safe and effective vaccines they receive.

DoH Looking at Equitable Distribution, Diversity Data

The latest update to the COVID-19 Vaccine Dashboard provides demographic data such as race, ethnicity, gender and age of individuals who have been vaccinated by county, across the commonwealth.

“As the number of Pennsylvanians getting vaccinated increases, we want to easily depict this information for counties to see their progress in equitable distribution, including areas where they are doing well and areas where vaccination efforts need improvement,” Acting Secretary Beam said. “This updated data will assist the department as we work to determine where we may need to focus some of our work, to ensure we are reaching all populations equally. We are committed to making the vaccine available to all Pennsylvanians to reduce the likelihood of individuals being hospitalized and dying from COVID-19.”

This latest update to the dashboard can be found on the second page of the COVID-19 vaccine dashboard. The update displays a county=specific view of demographics vaccinated by race, ethnicity, gender and age. The updated data also includes a county ranking of the percent of residents in a given county that has received at least one dose of a vaccine.

“This information will help identify any equity gaps so that we can work in partnership with Federal Retail Pharmacy Partners, who have stores in many locations, to assist in vaccinating all Pennsylvanians,” Beam said. “The department is also working closely with trusted partners and stakeholders on creating and sharing information for those who may be hesitant about receiving the vaccine. It is important that we all remember that the vaccines are safe and effective and are the best path to prevent becoming seriously ill from the virus.”

For more information on the Department of Health’s efforts to promote justice, mitigate health inequities and promote transparency during the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit the “Health Equity and COVID-19” page here.

While COVID-19 vaccine supply from the federal government remains limited, the Department of Health is working to ensure the vaccine is provided in a way that is ethical, equitable and efficient. To keep Pennsylvanians informed about vaccination efforts:

  • All Pennsylvanians age 16 and older are eligible to schedule a COVID-19 vaccine. The provider map is available here.
  • A commonwealth COVID-19 vaccination guide explains the current process for getting one. Pennsylvanians with questions about the vaccination process can call the Department of Health hotline at 1-877-724-3258.
  • Vaccine provider map to find a COVID-19 vaccine provider near you.
  • All of the locations that received vaccine and how much they have received can be found on the COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution webpage.
  • Vaccine dashboard data can also be found on the website to find more information on the doses administered and showcase demographic information.
  • Frequently asked questions can be found here.