The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is resuming the administration of the Johnson and Johnson (J&J) COVID-19 vaccine following a brief pause based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
This recommendation came out of an abundance of caution following reports of rare instances of blood clots in those who have received the vaccine. During the pause, medical and scientific teams at the FDA and CDC examined available data to assess the risk of this rare complication.
“Safety is our top priority,” said Janet Woodcock, M.D., acting FDA commissioner. “We have concluded that the known and potential benefits of the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine outweigh its known and potential risks in individuals 18 years of age and older. We are confident that this vaccine continues to meet our standards for safety, effectiveness and quality.”
CDC Director Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky expressed her confidence in the safety and efficacy of the vaccine, as well as the safety systems in place to identify any risks.
“We identified exceptionally rare events – out of millions of doses of the Janssen COVID-19 administered – and we paused to examine them more carefully,” Walensky said. “As we always do, we will continue to watch all signals closely as more Americans are vaccinated. I continue to be encouraged by the growing body of real-world evidence that the authorized COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective, and they protect people from disease, hospitalization, and death.”
Earlier this year, American Legion National Commander Bill Oxford encouraged members to get a vaccine.
"Just like when we were in the service, we used various forms of protections to keep ourselves — and our battle buddies — safe from harm," Oxford said in a PSA. "Against this invisible enemy, the vaccines are the best protection available. And getting a vaccine is not just for ourselves. It’s for all of our battle buddies in this fight. Our spouses. Our children. Our grandchildren. Our friends. Our Legion Family. Our neighbors. All Americans."
To find your nearest VA health facility that offers COVID-19 vaccines, click here.