Bay Area health officials reassure J&J vaccine is safe to administer

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — Bay Area health officers are reassuring residents on Sunday that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is once again safe to administer.

The regional health officers sent out a joint statement Sunday, agreeing that the risk of developing the rare clotting disorder is extremely low.

Dr. Colfax says the Johnson & Johnson vaccine should be rolled back out into San Francisco sometime next week and for any of those concerned about the vaccine, he says the benefits far outweigh the risks.

Bay Area health officials are reinforcing the CDC and FDAs lift on pauses to the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. Together, they sent out this public message on Sunday:

“We want people to understand that the benefits of this vaccine far outweigh the risks of this vaccine. The clotting disorder that’s associated with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, that risk is 2 per million vaccinations and just to put that into context with the COVID pandemic being where it is. Right now across the country the risk of dying from COVID-19 if you’re diagnosed with covid-19 is 1 in 56.”

San Francisco’s health officer, Dr. Grant Colfax, says the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is once again safe to administer in the Bay Area, and he expects it to be back in the rotation in San Francisco next week, with additional warning labels.

“We’ll start resuming J&J once we get final materials from the state,” Dr. Colfax said. “We obviously want educational materials that are culturally appropriate, linguistically appropriate so people can understand that the benefits far outweigh the risk and have the information so they can make their own decision about taking the vaccine and we’re also encouraging people to talk to their healthcare providers if they have questions.”

Other Bay Area counties are also prepared to start offering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine after the western states scientific group, which advises governors in four states on the coronavirus vaccines – completed its review on Saturday and gave the green light.

In a statement, Governor Gavin Newsom said:

“After additional review, analysis and scrutiny, experts have concluded the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is safe, effective and will protect you against the covid-19 virus.”

San Francisco has the ability to administer 20,000 vaccines a day, and Dr. Colfax says they’re starting to see vaccine supply slightly increase from a couple weeks ago. 

So far, 2/3 of people eligible for the vaccine in San Francisco have received at least one dose.

Dr. Colfax says resuming the Johnson and Johnson vaccine will further help the city and county reach herd immunity.

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