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Illinois halts J&J vaccine as COVID-19 cases rise again

Illinois public health officials are following the lead of federal authorities by suspending use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for COVID-19 while a potentially deadly side-effect is investigated.

Posted: Apr 13, 2021 7:13 PM

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois public health officials are following the lead of federal authorities by suspending use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for COVID-19 while a potentially deadly side-effect is investigated.

The state Public Health Department reported Monday it has notified providers throughout the state to temporarily stop use of the vaccine upon the recommendation of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration.

U.S. officials reported six cases of a severe blood clot in people who have received the J&J vaccine. One death has been reported.

The state has a relatively small number of Johnson & Johnson doses on hand and fewer expected in next week’s delivery. Chicago, with its separate delivery system, postponed until at least next week 13,000 shots of the one-dose J&J vaccine scheduled for this week. At Chicago State University’s vaccination site, shots of the two-dose Pfizer vaccine would be substituted for planned J&J doses, officials said.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who suffered no side effects after receiving the J&J vaccine March 24 at the Illinois State Fairgrounds mass vaccination site, said in a tweet Tuesday that the state would send 50,000 doses of vaccines manufactured by Pfizer and Moderna to Chicago to help supply during the next week. He promised another 50,000 in several weeks when it’s time for recipients to get the second of those two-shot vaccines.

“As cases climb across the country, I encourage everyone to get vaccinated as soon as possible,” Pritzker tweeted a day after he opened vaccine eligibility to everyone 16 and older.

Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, urged patience amid concern about the shot stoppage at a time when vaccine reluctance is waning and some are more confident about the vaccines’ safety.

“We want to fully understand these rare (adverse) events and be able to make sure that all of the recommendations that we make about vaccine are based in the best science with safety and efficacy first and foremost,” Arwady said.

More than 47,000 Chicago residents have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

The pause comes at a critical time in the nation’s campaign against coronavirus illness. Several states, particularly in the upper Midwest, have experienced yet another surge in the number of confirmed and probable cases of the potentially deadly, flu-like illness.

Michigan’s situation has become so critical, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer urged residents to scale back social interaction and she supported experts’ call for Washington to deliver extra vaccine. But the CDC director said the best way to handle the state’s crisis is to “close things down” like during the pandemic’s early days in spring 2020.

Illinois has also experienced another uptick. Tuesday’s number of newly reported infections was 3,193, with 17 additional deaths. Overall, COVID-19 has claimed 21,540 lives in Illinois among 1.29 million cases. But in the past week, an average 133,000 doses of vaccine have been administered daily for a total of 7.34 million shots. That number doesn’t represent fully vaccinated residents.

Among the fresh cases was an unidentified member of House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch’s staff. The infection was discovered Tuesday during routine testing for work in the Capitol, according to Welch spokeswoman Jaclyn Driscoll. She said quarantines have been imposed for anyone who was in contact with the staffer, a group exclusive of Welch. The Hillside Democrat contracted COVID-19 last fall but has since fully recovered.

It’s yet to be seen whether the halt in Johnson & Johnson shots will effect the state’s ramped-up vaccination schedule. Pritzker spokeswoman Jordan Abudayyeh said vaccine providers would substitute other vaccines or reschedule shots.

The bulk of the vaccines distributed in Illinois are the two-dose variety manufactured by Pfizer and Moderna. There were 17,000 doses of Johnson & Johnson delivered to Illinois this week. Officials expect more than 480,000 doses of vaccine next week, of which 5,800 are scheduled to be from Johnson & Johnson.

The state health department said J&J vaccine recipients who suffer headache, abdominal or leg pain, or shortness of breath within three weeks of receiving the shot should contact a health care provider.

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Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Cases: 1605320

Reported Deaths: 27132
CountyCasesDeaths
Cook61354910964
DuPage1039171357
Will873121089
Lake771121060
Kane65888850
Winnebago39007544
Madison38143576
St. Clair35003569
McHenry33032316
Peoria25972362
Champaign25862182
Sangamon24588271
McLean21879207
Tazewell19736326
Rock Island17806344
Kankakee16784234
Kendall15459106
LaSalle14496275
Macon14478240
Vermilion13234189
Adams12695148
DeKalb11667128
Williamson11419157
Whiteside7897176
Jackson769188
Boone760082
Coles7341112
Ogle713486
Grundy701281
Franklin686899
Clinton681498
Knox6651164
Marion6547138
Macoupin646399
Henry620474
Jefferson6060132
Effingham604382
Livingston571295
Woodford554291
Stephenson546289
Randolph529297
Monroe508199
Christian491780
Fulton487970
Morgan487296
Logan477474
Montgomery467476
Lee458156
Bureau427188
Perry415171
Saline409263
Fayette398956
Iroquois394673
McDonough354956
Jersey322253
Shelby311843
Douglas306636
Crawford304130
Lawrence301131
Union296747
Wayne274057
White265930
Richland262054
Hancock256334
Pike255956
Cass250928
Clark250738
Bond244024
Clay240047
Ford235256
Edgar234744
Carroll225437
Warren224960
Johnson213524
Moultrie211831
Jo Daviess206126
Washington206127
Wabash200915
Greene200739
Mason199351
Massac198144
De Witt195530
Piatt190814
Mercer190634
Cumberland178325
Menard158612
Jasper152418
Marshall134721
Hamilton128821
Brown10178
Pulaski98311
Schuyler9688
Edwards96315
Stark76827
Gallatin7435
Scott6975
Alexander67611
Henderson65114
Calhoun6442
Hardin56013
Putnam5444
Pope4815
Unassigned1882432
Out of IL40

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Cases: 941120

Reported Deaths: 15315
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1282511983
Lake633041097
Allen53609758
Hamilton43827447
St. Joseph41906590
Elkhart33545490
Vanderburgh30383448
Tippecanoe26820249
Johnson23609417
Hendricks22250341
Porter21737346
Clark17409229
Madison17366384
Vigo16108281
Monroe14466191
LaPorte14311239
Delaware14070221
Howard13865272
Kosciusko11418135
Hancock10841165
Warrick10674177
Bartholomew10542168
Floyd10430205
Wayne9959226
Grant9130204
Morgan8865160
Boone8389111
Dubois7710123
Dearborn762289
Henry7608130
Noble7413101
Marshall7362128
Cass7176117
Lawrence6957153
Shelby6584111
Jackson656785
Gibson6156107
Harrison603786
Huntington600195
Montgomery5805105
DeKalb574291
Knox5494104
Miami542488
Putnam536768
Clinton533665
Whitley524953
Steuben497268
Wabash483592
Jasper479160
Jefferson470092
Ripley454277
Adams444068
Daviess4169108
Scott405865
White391857
Clay390857
Greene388392
Decatur385296
Wells384983
Fayette374278
Posey359941
Jennings353156
Washington332047
LaGrange321375
Spencer317835
Fountain316555
Randolph312888
Sullivan307449
Owen283863
Starke280064
Fulton277553
Orange275859
Jay254837
Perry251652
Carroll243729
Franklin239338
Rush234130
Vermillion233250
Parke219820
Tipton209655
Pike207639
Blackford168334
Pulaski163551
Crawford146018
Newton144345
Benton142516
Brown135346
Martin128217
Switzerland125810
Warren114616
Union96911
Ohio79711
Unassigned0479