The CDC has recommended a pause on delivery of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine over concerns the shots could cause blood clots.
The rare complication has not been reported in Oklahoma but did lead to a change in what the state is doing with vaccine clinics.
The suspension of use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is not expected to cause a delay in vaccinations in Oklahoma or lead to any wasted vaccine. The State Department of Health reported Tuesday that it had received 125,000 doses of the vaccine and administered 62,000 doses.
None of the serious blood clots that caused the CDC to recommend the change were reported in Oklahoma. The change did lead to an immediate order from State Health to stop use of the vaccine at all clinics in Oklahoma.
Some patients prefer the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, while some settings, like jails, have used it to eliminate the need to follow up with the second dose.
"In the meantime, we're back to the challenge of the two-dose regimen out there, but we'll adapt, this whole situation has been about adapting to the logistical challenges,” Keith Reed, the Deputy Commissioner of Health, said.
The concern is over serious complications from blood clots, reported in six people, out of the seven million nationwide vaccinated with the Johnson & Johnson product.
"In Oklahoma, if a million people got COVID, we would expect to see about 50,000 of those people to be hospitalized with COVID. One person, less than one person, out of a million has had blood clots after the first seven million doses of the J & J vaccine. So, while it's an important complication, we're not downplaying it, but we want to keep it in perspective of COVID-19,” Dr Dale Bratzler, from OU Medical, said.
The state said it has plenty of the other vaccines are now available through 1,200 providers. With a plentiful supply, state officials are most worried the situation could give people a false belief that vaccines are not safe.
"We are learning as we go and even though there are a few very rare complications, they are very, very rare," Dr. Mary Clarke said.
Just over a million Oklahomans are fully vaccinated so far.