The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department is set to resume distribution of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine at its distribution clinics this week.
The decision comes after a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory board directed clinics to resume use of the vaccine following an 11-day pause to investigate more than a dozen instances of rare blood clots. Neighboring Ventura County will also resume use of the shot this week, according to a news release.
About 8 million doses of the J&J vaccine have been distributed nationwide, and the rare blood clots occurred in about 15 women. No cases of the rare blood clot reaction have been reported in Santa Barbara County, public health officials said in a news release Monday.
The CDC and Food and Drug Administration have issued guidance on how to treat rare blood clots that appear six to 13 days after vaccination and will continue to monitor the situation and review new information.
“We are highly encouraged that federal and state health officials have undergone their reviews and have drawn similar conclusions in the safety and efficacy of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine,” Dr. Van Do-Reynoso, the county’s public health director, said in a statement. “We acknowledge that our community may still have reservations but please know that Public Health remains committed to providing transparency about the vaccines being administered and also providing different options countywide for vaccination.”
The statement continued, “Safety is a top priority in this effort and this pause was an example of the vaccination safety review system working as intended. These pauses are intended to provide transparency and information to our community.”
The county will begin distributing the single-dose Johnson & Johnson shot at its mobile vaccine clinic this week, while providing patients the option to choose a different vaccine if they have hesitation. Additional doses of the J&J vaccine could also become available at other county vaccine providers later on this week, according to a news release.
As of Monday, 28.3% of Santa Barbara County is fully vaccinated, according to data from the county’s Public Health Department. With the number of vaccinated individuals steadily increasing, the county is seeing a consistent decrease in the number of daily cases reported.
On Monday, Santa Barbara County recorded 20 new cases of COVID-19 and no new deaths, bringing the total number of active cases countywide to 152 infections.
Santa Maria recorded five new cases on Monday, while Isla Vista and Santa Barbara reported three new cases. All other areas reported fewer than three new cases Monday.