Oklahoma health officials pause distribution of J&J vaccine

Mike Seals - April 13, 2021 11:23 pm

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma health officials announced plans Tuesday to halt distribution of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine following reports of potentially dangerous blood clots.

Health Commissioner Dr. Lance Frye said the potential adverse reactions were extremely rare and occurred in less than one in every million recipients, but that the pause was recommended “out of an abundance of caution.”

“We feel it best to pause administration of this vaccine in alignment with the (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and (Food and Drug Administration) recommendation until more data on this potential adverse reaction is available,” Frye said in a statement.

Gov. Kevin Stitt is among 62,000 Oklahomans who have received doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine so far. Nationally, more than 6.8 million doses of the J&J vaccine have been given, the vast majority with no or mild side effects.

Deputy Health Commissioner Keith Reed said the state still has plenty of Moderna and Pfizer vaccine on hand to ensure that any Oklahoman who wants a vaccine can get one.

“This pause will have minimal impact on Oklahoma’s vaccine effort,” Reed said.

Oklahoma reported 109 confirmed new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday and four additional deaths, bringing the total number of confirmed infections to 443,882 and the statewide death count to 8,068 since the pandemic began.

Also on Tuesday, Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter announced he was suing A&K Distributors, a Pryor, Oklahoma-based pharmaceutical supply company, for failing to deliver an order of ventilators to the Oklahoma State Department of Health at the start of the pandemic. The suit claims the department paid nearly $900,000 for 40 ventilators last April and had only received two by June. When the state canceled the order in October, the company had 21 ventilators delivered and would not refund the state when they returned them, according to the suit.

“The state canceled the order, and we want our money back, period,” Hunter said. “That is how business transactions work.”

The company didn’t immediately respond to telephone and email messages seeking comment on the lawsuit.


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