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Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine is cleared for use after a brief pause due to concerns about rare blood clots.

The Texas Department of State Health Services notified vaccine providers that they should resume using the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, according to a Saturday press release. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory committee ruled Friday that the vaccine's benefits outweigh its risks after a thorough safety review.

"We know some Texans prefer the simplicity of a single-dose vaccine, and the ease of storing and handling this vaccine gives providers more flexibility," DSHS Commissioner Dr. John Hellerstedt said in a statement. "Resuming the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will prevent hospitalizations and save lives in Texas."

Federal agencies paused use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine on April 13 after six rare but serious cases of blood clots were identified, among more than 7.2 million recipients. Since the pause, an additional seven cases were reported. Most of the cases were among women ages 18 to 49, who experiences symptoms starting one to two weeks after vaccination.

Although some public health experts worried that the pause could fuel vaccine hesitancy, others felt that it would demonstrate the efficacy and transparency of safety protocols.

Now that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is cleared for use, DSHS expects the federal government will make doses available as soon as this weekend, which could increase the state's weekly allocation.


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