Health care providers in San Antonio halt Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine after clot reports

Metro Health, UT Health, WellMed and University Health will only offer Pfizer or Moderna vaccines

SAN ANTONIOUpdate (5:45 p.m. Tuesday): The City of San Antonio has announced that local vaccine providers will stop administering the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine after the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control recommended to pause inoculations due to blood clots.

Metro Health, UT Health, WellMed and University Health will halt the Johnson & Johnson vaccine until further notice, officials said. Earlier Tuesday, WellMed confirmed they will stop the single-dose vaccine.

The local health care industry providers will continue to offer the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.

“The health and safety of our residents are top priority and Metro Health will continue to monitor this situation,” Assistant City Manager Dr. Colleen Bridger said. “The side effects reported are extremely rare and this pause is out of an abundance of caution. We still encourage people to get vaccinated as quickly as possible with either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine and the supply for both of those is increasing rapidly.”

About 25,510 people in Bexar County have already received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, and a total of 45,800 doses were allocated for Bexar County since March 8.

More than 600,000 people in Bexar County have received the other two COVID-19 vaccines.

Those who were scheduled to receive a J&J vaccine through University Health and are now facing a wait can walk in to the Wonderland Mall or St. Philip’s College vaccination sites between Tuesday and Friday to receive a Pfizer shot. A photo ID is required, and people ages 16 and 17 must be accompanies by a guardian.

Locations and hours for walk-ins for the Pfizer vaccine this week are as follows:

Wonderland of the Americas Mall, lower level: 4522 Fredericksburg Road (easiest to access lower level by parking in garage off Fredericksburg Rd. or underneath Burlington on the IH-10 side)

8 a.m. – 7 p.m.

St. Philip’s College MLK Campus, Center for Learning Resources (Building 8): 1801 Martin Luther King Drive (closest parking lots to vaccine site are off Walters and Wyoming streets)

8 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Those interested in the Precinct 1 vaccine drive at Texas A&M San Antonio on Friday can email corporate.communications@uhs-sa.com and provide the following information to make an appointment:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Email
  • Phone number
  • Date of birth

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Original (9:24 a.m. Tuesday): WellMed said it will halt the administration of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine at San Antonio clinics hours after U.S. health officials recommended a “pause” due to potentially dangerous blood clots.

WellMed, which offered the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at the Doris Griffin Senior One-Stop Center in San Antonio, will continue to administer the Moderna vaccine, a spokesperson said Tuesday.

People who were scheduled to receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine this week could receive the Moderna vaccine, depending on availability.

A spokesperson for WellMed said nearly 95% of COVID-19 vaccines administered by the healthcare company have been from either Pfizer or Moderna. So far, the company has administered about 200,000 doses in Texas and Florida.

In a joint statement Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration said they were investigating unusual clots in six women that occurred 6 to 13 days after Johnson & Johnson vaccination, according to the Associated Press.

The clots occurred in veins that drain blood from the brain and occurred together with low platelets. All six cases were in women between the ages of 18 and 48.

The reports appear similar to a rare, unusual type of clotting disorder that European authorities say is possibly linked to another COVID-19 vaccine not yet cleared in the U.S., from AstraZeneca.

More than 6.8 million doses of the J&J vaccine have been administered in the U.S., the vast majority with no or mild side effects.

U.S. federal distribution channels, including mass vaccination sites, will pause the use of the J&J shot, and states and other providers are expected to follow.

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